With a history of allowing only Emotional Support Animals (ESA) and service animals on campus, many students go without their pets while attending Pacific University. The process to permit a pet on campus is a bit lengthy but necessary.
The policy on campus explains either the service animal, or ESA, must be able to assist or provide a service to the individual requesting the accommodation. The individual must also register with the Learning Support Services (LSS) on campus and obtain documentation from a medical or mental health professional stating the need for a support animal.
Though the process is time consuming, the legal hoops that have to be jumped through are necessary to mitigate the potential problems caused by a majority of students owning animals in dormitories or on-campus apartments. While this process can lead to people faking a disability to get a pet into on-campus housing, it is better to have a prerequisite than none at all.
If every student were able to have a pet on campus, students with with mental or physical disabilities, who genuinely need the support of a pet, could feel delegitimized. The unfortunate reality of being a pet owner is the smell, noise, and potential property damage that can come along with it. If more students were allowed to have pets on campus, it would undoubtedly pose a burden on facilities to have to fix damages caused by bored puppies or kittens.
It is possible for animals like bunnies, hamsters and birds, to be crated for most of the day, but even then, you would still have to keep their pens clean. If their owner decides that between the two tests they have to study for and their paper due at the end of the week, that they just do not have the time to clean it, then the smell would permeate the hallway and eventually other rooms.
Another issue raised with owning animals is the noise. Imagine waking up at 5 a.m. every day to the sound of your neighbor’s dog barking until their owner finally decides to take them out. Though the idea of making it easier for students to have pets is good in theory, it has the possibility to cause more harm than good.
Not only would it be unfair to students who may not like pets or animals in general, but a two-person dorm is far from the ideal living space for most pets, and especially bigger animals, like dogs.
Smaller animals could be an exception in that regard, however, animals like cats still need a litter-box which would preferably go in the bathroom. That is virtually impossible when you share a bathroom with forty or fifty other people.
For now, the current process seems to be a successful one. Plus having any animal that has to poop inside generally sounds like a bad plan for a dormitory living space.