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Emotional Support Animals (ESAs)

Last updated on Apr 10, 2023

CCA Policy on Emotional Support Animals

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An emotional support animal is an animal that provides therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship and affection. An emotional support animal is not a service animal. Unlike a service animal, an emotional support animal does not assist a person with a disability with activities of daily living, nor does it accompany a person with a disability at all times.

Some national and local organizations may certify therapy animals; however, even with certification, an emotional support animal does not qualify for the access protection given to service animals under the ADA. Per the Fair Housing Act, California College of the Arts provides reasonable accommodations for emotional support animals only in the college’s residence halls.


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An individual who is requesting the use of an emotional support animal in a college residence hall is required to request and receive approval from CCA, pursuant to this policy, for use of an emotional support animal prior to having the animal in the student’s residence hall.

Emotional support animals do not meet the definition of service animal under the ADA and are not permitted in campus buildings or outdoor campus areas, with the exception that in student housing, an emotional support animal may be permitted if it is a reasonable accommodation for emotional disabilities of a resident. Each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by Disability Office and will be approved or denied at the sole discretion of the College. A photo of the ESA may be requested for the purpose of identification and in the case of residential emergencies.

Request for Approval of an Emotional Support Animal in the Residence Hall

Verification for Need of an Emotional Support Animal/Verification of Disability: A student requesting to receive an accommodation permitting an emotional support animal in the student’s residence hall must provide to Disability Services current documentation demonstrating that the student has a disabling condition or impairment and that the emotional support animal is required to enable the student to use CCA’s residence halls. CCA accepts documentation from the student’s health care provider, that outlines the following:

  • The nature of the disabling condition or impairment includes whatever information CCA may reasonably need to ensure compliance with the law [see attached request for information]
  • The provider’s professional opinion that the animal is necessary to afford the person with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the residence halls
  • The function(s) the animal may provide

Please note due to the limited space within the residence halls, approved emotional support animals may not exceed 30lbs. This is to ensure the health and wellbeing of the animal, and the community.

Documentation of the need for an emotional support animal must accompany a written request for permission for approval of an emotional support animal and be sent to Disability Services ( Such written requests and documentation should be sent at least thirty [30] days before the student intends to bring the animal into the student’s residence hall.

A disability services accommodations officer will request a meeting with the student, which may include other staff or administrators of the college, prior to making a final determination regarding a student’s request for approval of an emotional support animal.

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Vaccinations and License for the Emotional Support Animal

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The student must provide to CCA, prior to the student bringing the animal into a college residence hall, current documentation that the emotional support animal has up-to-date vaccinations and immunizations against diseases and that the emotional support animal is currently licensed in the student’s city of residence. If an emotional support animal is approved, the student must provide proof of up-to-date vaccinations and immunizations prior to the student’s move-in date in each subsequent year for which the student seeks college approval of the emotional support animal. CCA has continuing authority to direct that an emotional support animal receive veterinary attention. A photo of the ESA is REQUIRED for the purpose of identification, and in the case of residential emergencies.

Responsibilities of Persons Who Bring An Emotional Support Animal into the Residence Hall:

  • Care for and supervise the emotional support animal.
  • Maintain control of the animal at all times.
  • Ensure that the emotional support animal urinates and defecates outside of the residence halls and that all waste is disposed of in a sealed bag and dropped in the dumpster outside of the residence hall or in a city issued waste bin. ensure that each emotional support animal is immunized against diseases common to that type of animal.
  • Students with ESA accommodations are PROHIBITED from allowing their pets to relieve themselves in common areas including: Founder's and Blattner's Courtyard common areas. It is the responsibility of the pet owner to clean up after their pets and allow pets to go to the bathroom away from frequently trafficked areas of campus including those community courtyards located in the residence halls.
  • Ensure that the animal is licensed in accordance with city regulations. The emotional support animal must be currently licensed in the student’s city of residence.
  • Ensure that the animal is on a leash, if appropriate for the animal, at all times.
  • The animal must wear some type of easily recognized identification symbol (i.e.,harness, backpack).
  • Ensure that the animal is properly trained.
  • Each year that the emotional support animal is in the residence hall, provide to CCA a certificate by a licensed veterinarian attesting to good health of the animal.
  • Take financial responsibility for any property damage caused by the emotional support animal
  • Notify the general public of expectations of behavior around the emotional support animal. Examples of these notifications are as follows:
    • Unless you are invited to do so, do not touch or feed an emotional support animal
    • Do not come between or attempt to separate an emotional support animal
    • keep the emotional support animal in their assigned residence hall room.
    • The animal is not allowed in other students’ rooms/apartments, common areas such as lounges/kitchens, patio, or laundry facilities, or other college buildings or facilities.
    • take the emotional support animal with them during any overnight trips and all college break periods when the student is mandated to vacate the residence halls.
    • carry the emotional support animal while entering and exiting the building, preferably in a carrier designed for pets.
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Removal of Emotional Support Animals

The student of an emotional support animal may be asked to remove the animal if the animal is unruly or disruptive (e.g. barking, running around, aggressive behavior). If the behavior persists, the student may be told to remove the animal from the residence hall until the problem is remediated. Emotional support animals that are in ill health and/or uncleanly are not permitted in the residence halls.