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Buildings & Grounds

Animals on Campus

Definition: Animal--for these purposes, any species that is not human.

Applicable Public Law. Any person bringing an animal(s) onto the property of Carleton College should be aware that the City Code of Northfield applies to their visit. Please refer to Part II, Chapter 10, Article II, 10-31 through 10-98.

Animals in Buildings. No animals are allowed in any Carleton College buildings including academic, administrative, and residential buildings that the College owns with the exception of research animals used in the work of College departments. Faculty, staff, or students may not pet-sit or invite an animal into College housing. The following are exempt from this policy because of their required long-term residential nature: Nutting House, Headley Cottage, Seccombe, and all Area Director apartments, currently located in Severance, Musser, Watson, Myers, Cassat, and Goodhue.

Animals on the Grounds. Animals must be leashed and under the direct control of their owner. Animals running freely will be reported to the City of Northfield Animal Control Officer for pickup as provided for in the City Code. Animals that are tied up and unattended are not under the direct control of their owner and will be reported to the City of Northfield Animal Control Officer for pickup as provided for in the City Code.

Animals that are left in their owner's vehicle will be reported to the City of Northfield Animal Control Officer for pickup as provided for in the City Code if they appear to be under duress from heat, inadequate ventilation, or severe cold.

All animal feces must be picked up and properly disposed of by the associated owner.

Service Animals. Service animals are legally defined (Americans With Disabilities Act) and are trained to meet disability-related needs of their handlers. Federal laws protect the rights of individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals in public places.

Public Safety. Persons who wish to report violations of this policy may call Carleton College Security at x4444.

Residential Life Policy on Support Animals

While the college does not permit pets on campus, it does comply with federal law that mandates the presence of support animals for individuals with appropriately documented disabilities.  This policy establishes guidelines and regulations for the presence of such support animals in campus housing.  This policy pertains to all students living in campus housing.

A student requesting this accommodation must meet with the Director of Residential Life or designee and complete a Housing Accommodation Request form for the Support Animal.


A Support Animal is an animal that provides assistance or emotional support to a student with a documented disability, which assistance or support (1) alleviates one or more identified significant symptoms or effects of that student’s disability and (2) is necessary to enable that student to have equal opportunity to use and enjoy the College’s residential housing as part of their educational experience.


Individuals who are seeking permission to have a Support Animal in College housing must provide appropriate documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, or other licensed healthcare professional as to why the Support Animal is needed and why it satisfied the requirements of the definition of Support Animal as set forth above.  This documentation must include a reasonably detailed account of the student’s diagnosed disability and how the proposed Support Animal will alleviate one or more significant symptoms or effects of such disability.  The College reserves the right to:

  • Identify and establish the essential functions, abilities, skills, knowledge, and standards for academic and co-curricular programs and services and associated facilities for students (including, but not limited to, College housing), and to evaluate and determine reasonable accommodations on this basis;
  • Request and receive in a timely manner current and appropriate documentation that supports requests for a Support Animal;
  • Deny a request for a Support Animal if the documentation demonstrates that the request is not warranted, or if the student fails to provide appropriate documentation;
  • Select among similarly effective housing accommodations, adjustments, services, and facilities.  Not all residential areas may be open to Support Animals.

The Office of Residential Life (with input from Student Health and Counseling and the Coordinator of Disability Services, as appropriate) will then evaluate the Support Animal request, review documentation and determine whether the presence of the animal is required to comply with relevant law and this policy.  Approval, if granted, is determined on an annual basis, and a student must obtain approval for the Support Animal each academic year.


If the College authorizes the presence of a Support Animal, the requesting student must sign a formal “Agreement for a Support Animal,” which designates where the Support Animal is allowed to go and provides (among other terms and conditions) so that:

  • The Support Animal’s behavior, noise, odor, and waste will not exceed reasonable standards for a well-behaved animal;
  • The Support Animal may not pose a direct threat to health or safety, or unreasonably disrupt the residential or educational experience of other community members;
  • Proof of current and updated vaccinations for the Support Animal must be provided.

The Office of Residential Life will work with students who are approved to discuss an appropriate housing assignment.

Office of Residential Life 6/2015


Last revised July 1, 2009
Keywords: animal, pet, service

Last Reviewed: Jul 13th, 2015

Maintained by Facilities