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Emotional Support Animal Policy and Procedures

SVSU is committed to complying with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA), the Fair Housing Act and any other applicable county, state and federal regulations that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. SVSU believes it is responsible for providing safe, healthy housing to all students living in University Housing. SVSU is also committed to providing equal access to University Housing for those students with documented disabilities. The following are the Emotional Support Animal Policies and Procedures that must be followed to assure compliance between the Office of Accessibility Resources and Accommodations (ARA), Residential Life, Housing, and the owner/student and their ESA. Determinations are based on documentation provided for both the student and the ESA to allow an ESA to be brought into University housing. Each determination will be decided on a case by case basis. 


Clean Bill Certificate (374KB)


According to Fair Housing Act (FHA), an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) is, “an animal of any species, the use of which is supported by a qualified physician, psychiatrist or other mental health professional based upon a disability-related need. An ESA does not have to be trained to perform any particular task. ESAs do not qualify as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but they may be permitted as reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act.”


The student who is requesting the accommodation and has received approval to bring their ESA to campus.

An animal that is permitted in designated areas of residential communities as a reasonable accommodation.

A domestic or trained animal kept for companionship and pleasure.

Dwellings owned and operated by the university with the express intent to house students. At SVSU, Housing Operations is the department which oversees University Housing.

A comprehensive program that facilitates the experience of living "on campus" in a residence hall. At SVSU, Residential Life is the department which oversees this experience.

According to the ADA, a documented disability is, “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. This includes people who have a record of such an impairment, even if they do not currently have a disability. It also includes individuals who do not have a disability but are regarded as having a disability.”

Approval Process to Bring an ESA Into University Housing

The owner/student will register with ARA prior to bringing their animal to campus. The registration, called AIMS, can be found on the top right corner of the ARA webpage.

Account Creation

Using the Emotional Support Animal form, the owner/student must provide ARA with recent documentation within the last 6 months from a state-licensed physician, psychiatrist, social worker or other mental health professional specifying the ESA provides emotional support which alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of an existing diagnosis. The Emotional Support Animal form can be found below.

In addition to having the Emotional Support Animal form completed and uploaded, the owner/student must also secure the following recent documentation within the last 6 months and upload it to their AIMS profile.  This documentation includes:

  1. An annual clean bill of health certificate from a licensed veterinarian and the vets checklist.
  2. An immunization record that demonstrates the ESA has completed the appropriate course of medication specific to that animal, including the rabies vaccine.
  3. Proof that a dog has a state or county approved license.
    • State law requires that all dogs over four months of age must be vaccinated against rabies and licensed through the county.


Once all of the owner/student's documentation has been uploaded, they should email us at 


Upon receiving the owner/student's email, ARA will look over the uploaded material to decide whether the appropriate documentation is present.  If not, we will contact them via email and clarify any problem. 

If the owner/student's documentation is appropriate, we will contact them via email to tell them that the next step is to contact Housing to register their ESA and obtain a Housing Permit.

Each year on or before the first of May, this Housing permit must be renewed. This renewal is done by the owner/student providing ARA with recent proof that their ESA has received all applicable vaccinations, is appropriately licensed and has been spayed or neutered (if relevant). This proof is in the form of a completed Certificate of Health and Veterinarian’s Checklist verifying that the ESA can safely live on campus.  Once this has been reviewed by the ARA staff, the owner/student will again be told to contact the Housing Office to get a new permit.

Emotional Support Animal Form
Clean Bill Certificate


Shawn Wilson, Director of Accessibility Resources and Accommodations
Wickes 260
(989) 964-7000

Ryan McCracken, Associate Director of Accessibility Resources and Accommodations
Wickes 260
(989) 964-7000

Debbi Abeare-Jacobs, Administrative Secretary
Wickes 260
(989) 964-7000