Emotional Support Animals at UMaine

Emotional Support Animal Policy and Procedures

General Information

This policy applies solely to the specific requirements applicable to an individual’s use of an Emotional Support Animal in University housing. With the exception of service dogs, University of Maine (UMaine) housing policies prohibit having animals of any type; however, UMaine will consider a request for a reasonable accommodation to this policy by an individual with a mental health disability. The Student Accessibility Services (SAS) staff is responsible for implementing this policy and for assisting students with disabilities to document their specific need for an accommodation.

No Emotional Support Animal (ESA) may be kept in University housing at any time prior to the individual receiving approval as a reasonable accommodation pursuant to this policy. A request must be initiated by the student registering for disability accommodations with Student Accessibility Services.

The process for requesting an accommodation of an ESA starts with an individual submitting documentation from their mental health provider. Documentation should be authored by a licensed clinical professional or mental health care provider, who is trained and qualified to evaluate the disability and familiar with the student’s history. Documentation may not be provided by a student’s relative, friend or family member.

Process to Request an Emotional Support Animal

Step 1)   Fill out the Student Accommodation Request form at this Accommodate link, and answer the specific questions related to Emotional Support Animal (ESA) accommodation requests. Upload the Emotional Support Animal Documentation Form  and submit it. A staff member will review your request and send you follow up instructions. 

Step 2) Log into the Accommodate platform. Request an appointment from within the Accommodate platform. Appointments can be held in-person or via Zoom. Students will receive a confirmation email and will be asked to log into Accommodate to view the appointment details. 

Step 3)    Meet with a staff member to discuss your accommodation request. During the appointment our staff will talk with you about your symptoms, identify reasonable accommodations, and give you detailed information about next steps.

Step 4) Student Accessibility Services staff review requests in consultation with the Offices of Residence Life, University Health and Counseling Center, and, if needed, the individual’s mental health provider. Please note that there is no deadline to submit a request for accommodation for an emotional support animal. The length of determination may vary depending on the complexity of the request. Students are encouraged to initiate the process at least four weeks in advance of the date they are requesting to bring an animal to campus.

Step 5)  If the ESA is approved, student must;

  • Provide proof of compliance with licensing and vaccination requirements for the animal, and documentation that dogs and cats have been neutered or spayed.
  • Read the document Responsibility of an Individual with an Emotional Support Animal and meet with Student Accessibility Services staff and confirm an understanding of the guidelines by signing the statement

Step 6) If the ESA is approved, Student Accessibility Services will notify Housing Services and Residence Life who may in turn notify the residents of the floor where the student resides. Such information will be limited and not include specific disability related information. The student will be provided a letter of accommodation that will specifically state that the animal is approved and where the animal is permitted on campus. The student should retain the letter to provide as proof of approval of the accommodation.

Step 7) Requests for ESAs may be reviewed annually. Students must notify SAS each year if bringing the ESA and provide an updated agreement form with current emergency contact information. Vaccination and vet records must also be current and submitted annually.

Appeal Process

Students who feel that they been unfairly denied a reasonable accommodation should contact the Director of Equal Opportunity at 207-581-1226 or 711 (Maine Relay) or equal.opportunity@maine.edu.