New Policy brings pets to Campus

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Ali Shappell, junior Nursing and ACT-In double major, poses with her dog. Photo courtesy of Hannah Koehler.

With a short boomerang of a black cat jumping up and down, William Jewell College announced a revised pet policy on Instagram late last month. Starting next fall, you can bring a small dog, cat or fish tank with you on move-in day. 

The new pet-friendly policy outlines all the regulations pet owners must follow. Animals will only be allowed in the bottom floor rooms of Eaton and Browning Residence Halls. The policy states these buildings were chosen because of the tile floors, and because they allow both first-years and upperclassmen to enjoy the benefits of living with their furry friends. Outside these dorms will be a petfriendly outdoor space. 

You can’t just bring any pets to school. The college set strict guidelines on size and temperament. Dogs and cats must weigh under 40 pounds, be housebroken, spayed or neutered and non-aggressive. Fish tanks cannot exceed 10 gallons. 

There are also restrictions on the breeds of dogs you can bring. A list of 21 breeds deemed unsafe will not be allowed on campus. This list includes Pit Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers and German Shepherds, just to name a few. Dogs and cats must also be up-to-date on their vaccinations and be registered with the city, per the city code. 

Living with your pet also means dealing with the responsibilities of pet ownership. It is up to the student to clean up after their animals, ensure their health and monitor their behaviors. Jewell does not take on any responsibilities for the actions of your animal. The school also states that students must care for your pets humanely, including not leaving them alone for more than six hours. 

If at any point in time Jewell decides you have not followed the guidelines above, they can revoke your pet authorization form.

Not everyone can have a pet. Any student who wants to bring their animal to the Hill next year will have to fill out a campus housing application, pet application and a pet authorization form from Student Life. Because pet ownership is limited to two dorms, those rooms may fill up quickly, and anyone not living there cannot bring their pets to school. 

The new pet policy comes in addition to the policy regarding emotional support animals (ESA), which states that a student can have any small animal in any residence building when they provide the school with documentation stating that the animal “provides therapeutic benefit, such as alleviating or mitigating some symptoms of a person’s disability.” .

The pet policy is also in addition to regulations on service animals such as seeing-eye dogs. By law, every college in the country is required to allow ESAs and service animals. 

Pet-Friendly colleges are still a rarity. A recent CNBC report found only 4 percent of colleges in the United States allow pets. However, more and more schools seem to find the benefit in adding animals to their campus. The most commonly cited pro is that animals in general tend to provide emotional support for their owners. 

As every new first-year quickly learns, the jump from high school to college can be difficult, and having a piece of home with you may help ease feelings of loneliness. Having a pet can also make it easier to find friends. When you are out walking your dog, it’s natural for people to gravitate toward you and start a conversation. 

However, having a pet on campus is not all fun and games. Animals come with a ton of expense and responsibility, and this leads many schools to ban furry friends. They can be a nuisance to others living in your building, aggravate allergies and cause property damage. This, in part, is why Jewell has outlined such specific regulations that put all liability on the owner. 

Having a pet in your dorm can also make life harder for the people around you. Many people have phobias of animals and may not feel safe living near you and your pet. It could also make it harder for facilities and maintenance workers who have to clean out the animal waste containers or need to access your room to fix something. 

But despite these down sides that come with pet ownership, Jewell has decided the many positive benefits are convincing enough to welcome our animal friends on campus next year. So while August may be a long time away, think about all the joys of bringing you dogs, cats and fish to school next year. You’ll never again have to wait for the next holiday to see your best friend. 

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