For information about disability accommodations in the residence halls, contact the Assignments and Collections office at 940-565-2610 or the Office of Disability Access at 940-565-4323.
Accommodation Process for Requesting Comfort Animal in Campus Housing
According to UNT Policy 04.026, accommodation requests for a comfort animal must be filed with the Office of Disability Access. The accommodation request must document the link between the presence of the comfort animal and a documented disability. Generally, dogs and cats are commonly requested as comfort animals; although other animals may serve in this capacity. For the health and safety of residents, the university is not required to grant non-domesticated or unique animals such as snakes, reptiles, barnyards animals, moneys, spiders, or other insects as reasonable accommodations.
An approved comfort animal must be contained within the campus housing unit of the owner, except when transported outside the residential area in an animal carrier or controlled on a leash or harness. Comfort animals are not permitted in any other university facilities.
Comfort Animal Requirements
- Vaccinations. Comfort animals must have required vaccinations or license pursuant to local law. Dogs must wear a rabies vaccination tag.
- Licensing. The owner must abide by current city, county, and state ordinances, laws, and/or regulations pertaining to the licensing, vaccination, and other requirements of animal ownership applicable to the owner’s species of comfort animal. It is the owner’s responsibility to know and understand all applicable ordinances, laws, and regulations in addition to university policies applicable to their comfort animal. The university has the right to request documentation of compliance with such ordinances, laws, and/or regulations, which may include the presentation of vaccination certificate(s), registration, or licensing documentation.
- Types of Animals: Generally, dogs and cats are commonly requested as comfort animals; although other animals may serve in this capacity. For the health and safety of residents, the university is not required to grant non-domesticated or unique animals such as snakes, reptiles, barnyards animals, monkeys, spiders, or other insects as reasonable accommodations.
- Age. Comfort animals must be at least six months of age.
- Documentation. The university reserves the right to require updated veterinary records or other evidence of the health of the animal at any time.
- Annual Verification. Completion and submission of forms with accompanying records to verify current subscription for comfort animal and vaccination and good health of the comfort animal must be provided prior to each fall term of residence to the Department of Housing and Residence Life. No comfort animal will be permitted in university housing without the annual submission of the above-described documents.
If the animal is returned to campus without submission of the appropriate documentation to the Department of Housing and Residence Life, the university may request the owner remove the animal from campus within 48 hours of notification. If the animal is not removed as requested, university authorities may consider the animal a trespasser and contact the appropriate City of Denton authorities to remove the animal from campus. Any costs associated with the removal of the animal from UNT property are the responsibility of the animal’s owner.
The specific steps for requesting a Comfort Animal are as follows:
A student must submit all completed applicable forms and accompanying vaccination documents to the Office of Disability Access which includes:
- ODA Registration Form by logging into AIM Student Portal . If you are currently registered with ODA, login to AIM Student Portal and submit an “Additional Accommodation Request.”
- Submit the forms included in the Comfort Animal in Campus Housing Request Packet (pdf).
Comfort Animal in Campus Housing Accommodation Request Form
Documentation of disability that supports each accommodation request
Annual Verification of Vaccination/Animal Health Form (pdf) and accompanying documents - this information will be shared with the Department of Housing and Residence Life.
A student should provide recent documentation of the disability and disability-related need for a comfort animal from a qualified provider (treating psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional). Documentation must meet ODA’s documentation guidelines (see documentation criteria below).
- Requests for comfort animals will be reviewed on an individualized basis.
- Students will be notified of the committee’s decision by their assigned ODA Student Services Coordinator by email. If the request is approved, the Department of Housing and Residence Life will notify the student of any applicable housing policies and owner responsibilities.
- The ODA will also submit the following information to the Department of Housing and Residence Life for compliance purposes. The student will be responsible for updating this information annually with the Department of Housing and Residence Life.
- Annual Verification of Vaccination/Animal Health Form – to be completed only by licensed Veterinarian
- Picture of the Certificate of Registration with the city of Denton (if applicable)
- Picture of rabies tag (if applicable)
- Comfort animals must have required vaccinations or license pursuant to local law. Dogs must wear a rabies vaccination tag
- A current color picture of the animal
- Incomplete applications and documentation will not be reviewed, and students will be notified by his/her Student Services Coordinator. Questions about the forms or information required should be addressed to ODA.
A denied request for this accommodation may be appealed by filing a complaint with the ADA Coordinator in the Division of Institutional Equity and Diversity located in Hurley Administration Building Room 175. The ADA Coordinator may also be reached at (940) 565-2759 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Documentation of a significant mental health disability and the associated need for a comfort animal should come from a mental health provider with whom an established provider-patient relationship exists and can explain how the presence of the animal may help to alleviate one or more symptoms or effects of the disability.
ESA/Comfort Animal certificates, ID badges, vests, online registries, etc., are not necessary nor considered in the approval process of an ESA. Please consider this information before spending money on the purchase of such letters, as they will rarely provide the information necessary to support a Comfort Animal/ESA request, and are not viewed by the institution as a reliable source of information.
Completed forms can be submitted to ODA via email at Apply.ODA@unt.edu (preferred) OR mail, fax, or deliver in person to UNT ODA, Sage Hall 167, 1155 Union Circle #310770, Denton, TX 76203, Fax: 940.369.7969, Phone: 940.565.4323
Responsibilities of Comfort Animal Owner
It is an expectation of the ODA and the Department of Housing and Residence Life that you will review and abide by UNT Policy 04.026, Office of Disability Access guidelines, and Department of Housing and Residence Life policies, procedures, and community standards.
The comfort animal owner’s responsibilities and examples of what may result in the removal of a comfort animal can be found at https://policy.unt.edu/policy/04-026 (refer to the policy for specifics). Please be sure to review any additional policies, procedures, and community standards of the Department of Housing and Residence Life.