The University of North Texas is committed to providing people with disabilities who use service and comfort animals the opportunity to receive the benefit of the tasks these animals provide or the therapeutic support they offer in accordance with the requirements of federal law. The following guidance is in accordance with UNT Policy 04.026. The information provided is generally for students with disabilities in relation to their academic and campus activities. If a UNT staff member (student, hourly, full-time, faculty, etc.) wishes to learn more about their rights to have an accommodation of an animal on campus grounds, they should contact Human Resources. 

Types of Animals

There are four types of animals we will reference: "Pet," "Comfort Animal," "Therapy Animal," "Service Animal." 

  1. Pet. “Pet” means a domesticated or tamed animal that is kept as a companion. On-campus residents are not permitted to keep pets, other than fish, in university residence halls
  2. Comfort Animal. “Comfort Animal” (also referred to as “Emotional Support Animal”) means an animal that provides emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship and that a health care provider has recommended as an accommodation for a student with a disability. The comfort provided by these animals does not constitute work or tasks and comfort animals are not service animals for purposes of the UNT Policy.
  3. Therapy Animal. “Therapy Animal” means a dog that holds a current registration or certification, is on an animal-assisted therapy team with a qualified university employee and is being used in an official university program or service for a university purpose.
  4. Service Animal. “Service animal” means a dog, or in rare situations, a miniature horse that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
    1. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition.
    2. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to:
      1. assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks
      2. alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds,
      3. providing non-violent protection or rescue work,
      4. pulling a wheelchair,
      5. assisting an individual during a seizure,
      6. alerting individuals to the presence of allergens,
      7. retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone,
      8. providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities,
      9. and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

Rights, Responsibilities, and Access Procedures

  • Pet

    • ​​​​Access: 
      • Permitted on campus grounds if:
        • the animal is under the direct control of a responsible person and restrained by a leash that does not exceed 6 feet in length,
        • or is in an appropriate animal carrier, crate, cage or kennel.
      • Pets are not allowed in campus buildings or any portion of buildings where campus business is being conducted, including residence halls, except as approved by the Department of Housing and Residence Life.
    • Inquiries: Individuals inquiring about pets on campus grounds should contact UNT Risk Management Services (RMS). 
    • Accommodations: Pets are not a disability accommodation and therefore are not covered as a disability accommodation. 
    • Residence Halls: Pets are not permitted in Residence Halls, except as approved by Housing and Residence Life. 
    • Additional Responsibilities: Please view the UNT policy for additional responsibilities of a pet owner on campus. 
  • Comfort Animals: 

    • Access: Comfort animals are typically an accommodation for residence life and typically, comfort animals/emotional support animals do not have rights in campus buildings. See accommodation information below. 
    • Inquiries: Requests for accommodation with a comfort animal shall be made through the Office of Disability Access. Comfort animal approval is for a specific animal; therefore, a student must request approval for a replacement animal if necessary. If a UNT Housing and Residence Life staff member needs to confirm the approval of a Comfort Animal, they should contact the student's ODA Coordinator by contacting our front office at or 940-565-4323. 
    • Accommodations: 
      • Academic: As stated above, typically comfort animals are not permitted in campus buildings, including classrooms. However, upon request, the Office of Disability Access will review accommodation requests on an individualized basis to review if an academic adjustment/accommodation to this policy is reasonable. Students should submit an application for ODA accommodations, or if already registered, submit an Additional Accommodation Request in AIM. 
      • Housing: No comfort animal will be permitted in university housing without express prior approval from the Office of Disability Access and Department of Housing and Residence Life. The accommodation request process for Comfort Animals has a different reasonable process than academic accommodations. Detailed information can be found here (link to Comfort Animals page).
    • Residence Halls: Students living in university housing will be permitted only one comfort animal at a time.
    • Additional Responsibilities: Please view the UNT policy for additional responsibilities of a comfort animal owner on campus. 
  • Therapy Animal

    • ​​​​​​​Access:
      • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Only allowed on campus for clinical, outreach, and educational purpose;
      • Only permitted in the UNT Counseling Center, UNT College of Education Consortium for Animal Assisted Therapy, or locations approved by UNT Risk Management Services (RMS)
      • Must always be accompanied by a qualified handler
    • Inquiries: Individuals inquiring about a Therapy Animal on campus should contact UNT Risk Management Services (RMS) or the UNT Counseling and Testing Center. 
    • Accommodations: Therapy animals are not a disability accommodation and therefore are not covered as a disability accommodation. 
    • Residence Halls: Therapy animals are only approved for admittance into the Residence Halls when offered as UNT sponsored campus activity approved by RMS and when accompanied by a qualified handler. 
    • Additional Responsibilities:  Please view the UNT policy for additional responsibilities of a therapy animal handler on campus. 
  • Service Animals:

    • Access: Allowed in university buildings, classrooms, residence halls, dining areas, recreational facilities, meetings, activities and events when accompanied by a person with a disability and the service animal is trained to provide, and does provide, a specific service to that person that is directly related to the person's disability.
    • Inquiries: 
      • University officials will not inquire about the qualifications of a service animal when it is readily apparent that an animal is trained to do work or to perform a task for a person with a disability (e.g., the dog is observed guiding an individual who is blind or has low vision, pulling a person's wheelchair, or providing assistance with stability or balance to a person with an observable mobility disability).
      • If it is not readily apparent that an animal is performing work or a task on behalf of an individual with a disability, university officials may only inquire:
        • a. Whether the animal is required because of a disability; and,
        • b. What work or task the animal has been trained to perform
      • UNT faculty and staff will not ask for documentation regarding the animal's certification, training, or licensure.
    • Accommodations: 
      • Academic: Students are not required to have a service animal listed on their letter of accommodation. However, if they would like to do so, they should contact their ODA Coordinator who will ask them the two questions listed above.
      • Housing: Students only need to notify UNT Housing and Residence Life of the animal prior to moving in.
    • Residence Halls: A student with a disability who intends on residing in a UNT residence hall with their service animal should notify UNT Housing and Residence Life prior to their arrival on campus. This is not to request permission but moreso to notify them of the animals presence to allow them to support the person with the disability and make any necessary arrangements. 
    • Service Animals in training: Service animals in training that are accompanied by an approved trainer are allowed the same access to the university as fully trained service dogs.
      • The University of North Texas generally defines an "approved trainer" as a person with a disability who is training the animal to provide a service related to their disability.
      • A person with a disability may request an accommodation to UNT Policy, which prohibits service animals in training from residing in university residence halls. The student should send an email to their ODA Coordinator and Brad Dye, ADA Assignments Coordinator with UNT Housing. 
      • All other trainers who wish to bring a service animal in training to campus (such as a person without a disability raising a puppy for a service dog organization) should contact the Office of Disability Access for a review on an individualized basis.
    • Additional Responsibilities: Please view the UNT policy for additional responsibilities of a service animal owner on campus.