Texas Tech University

Emotional Support Animals

Picture of a French bull dog on a leash, lying on green grass, in front of a crouching owner.Texas Tech University is committed to compliance with state and federal laws regarding individuals with disabilities. All questions regarding service animals should be directed to Student Disability Services (SDS) in 130 Weeks Hall, via phone (806-742-2405), fax (806 742-4837), or email us with any service animal questions. No documentation will be required to bring certified service animals into academic buildings on campus. However, for emotional support animals residing in University Housing, TTU will require that documentation be provided by the treating physician or mental health provider, which permits TTU to determine all of the following:

  1. that the individual has a disability for which the animal is needed
  2. how the animal assists the individual, including whether the animal has undergone any training
  3. the relationship between the disability and the emotional support that the animal provides.

SDS will also require documentation for any service animal in training that will be on campus in Housing or academic buildings. See the Service Animals in Training Policy for more details.

Guide to Animals on Campus

Service Animals Emotional Support Animals
Clip art of a man holding the leash of a dog with a red service dog vest. Clip art of a man holding the leash of a dog and a cat.
Fully vaccinated dog Dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, turtle, or other small, domesticated animal that is traditionally kept in the home as a pet. In general, reptiles, other than turtles, barnyard animals and exotic animals are not considered household pets. If the individual is requesting to keep a unique type of animal that is not commonly kept in households as described above, then the requester has the substantial burden of demonstrating a disability related, therapeutic need for the specific type of animal. The individual is encouraged to submit documentation from a healthcare professional confirming the need for this unique type of animal.
Required because of a disability Requested for emotional support
Trained to perform a task Not trained to perform a task
Allowed in academic buildings Not allowed in academic buildings
(Residence halls only)
Not required to be registered Must be registered with the University Student Housing Welcome Center and SDS

ADA Frequently Asked Questions

The Difference Between Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals

Service Animals

A service animal is defined in Title II Section 35.104 under the ADA as a dog that is trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Service animals are allowed in public places because of the owner's need for the animal at all times.

Examples of such work or tasks include but are not limited to:

  • guiding people who are blind or have low vision
  • alerting deaf persons to the presence of people or sounds
  • pulling a wheelchair
  • alerting an individual of a seizure, change in blood sugar, or an allergen
  • reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications
  • calming a person with PTSD during an anxiety attack
  • performing other duties
    (See ADA.gov for more information on service animals)

Learn More

Emotional Support Animals

The revised 2010 ADA regulations specify, "The provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks." Thus, these animals are not considered service animals. However, an emotional support animal does ameliorate identified symptoms of an individual's emotional or psychological disability. The emotional support animal's function may be entirely passive with the sole role being its presence.

Emotional Support Animals are also called:

  • Comfort Animals
  • Companion Animals
  • Therapy Animals - Responsibilities include providing psychological or physiological therapy to individuals; they are often allowed visitation to rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, and hospitals.

The Fair Housing Act (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968) and HUD regulations found in Section 504 (24 CFR Parts 8 and 9) govern emotional support animals.

PDF of HUD Guidelines


      Service Animal Request Form                         Emotional Support Animal Request Form

Policies and Related Information

How do I know how my animal is classified?

Service Dog

Is it a dog? Yes.

Is it individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a disability? Yes.

Then, this is a service animal.

  • According to the ADA, it is the handler's right to have the dog provide a service).
  • The animal can go everywhere the handler goes, and the animal is trained to respond to the handler's needs.
  • The use of this animal on campus does not prompt registration with SDS or the University Student Housing Welcome Center.

Service Dog in Training

Is it a dog? Yes.

Are you training it to perform a task for the benefit of a disability? Yes.

Is the dog required to be accompanied by an approved trainer at all times? Yes.

Then this is a service animal in training.

  • The ADA recognizes one's ability to train their own animal. However, the ADA does not recognize a service animal in training as a service dog and does not allow the same access.
  • Texas Law allows for Service Animals in Training, but the animal must be accompanied by an approved handler at all times.
  • The use of this animal on campus must be approved through SDS.
  • If the student is the approved (certified) trainer, then documentation stating such must be provided to SDS. If the student is NOT an approved trainer, the student and the service dog in training must be accompanied by an approved trainer at all times.

Emotional Support Animal

Is it a domesticated animal that is traditionally kept in the home as a pet? Yes.

Is it trained to respond to any stimuli? No.

Is the animal's presence its value? Yes.

Then this is an emotional support animal.

  • Covered under the FHA (not recognized by the ADA because there is no right to comfort).
  • Animal's presence as support, well-being, or comfort does not constitute work or tasks.
  • The use of this animal in Housing must be approved through SDS and University Housing prior to being able to bring the animal into any residence hall.

Emotional Support Animals in University Housing

HUD regulations allow individuals with disabilities a broader range of emotional support animals in University Housing as compared with the campus as a whole. An individual may keep an emotional support animal as an accommodation in University Housing if all of the following apply:

  1. The individual has a disability
  2. The animal is necessary to afford the individual an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling
  3. There is an identifiable relationship between the disability and the emotional support the animal provides. Emotional Support Animals are NOT allowed in any other university buildings.


The University may exclude an emotional support animal from University Housing if the animal: is not housebroken; would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others or University facilities; would pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others; would fundamentally alter the nature of a program or activity; or is not being cared for by the individual. Students will be liable for damage caused by emotional support animals in the same manner they are responsible for personal damages to any Texas Tech University property.

Responsibilities of Individuals with Emotional Support Animals

TTU is not responsible for the care or supervision of an emotional support animal. Individuals with disabilities are responsible for the control of their emotional support animals at all times and for ensuring the immediate clean-up and proper disposal of all animal waste. Individuals must comply with all applicable laws and regulations, including vaccination, animal health and leash laws, as well as TTU's rules in lease provisions regarding vaccination, leash control, cleanup rules, animal health, and community relationships.


State of Texas Human Resources Code



(a) A person with a disability who uses an emotional support animal for assistance in travel is liable for any damages done to the premises or facilities by the animal.

(b) A person with a disability who uses an emotional support animal for assistance in travel or auditory awareness shall keep the animal properly harnessed or leashed. Any person who is injured by the animal, due to the failure of a person with a disability to properly harness or leash the animal, is entitled to maintain a cause of action for damages in a court of competent jurisdiction under the same law applicable to other causes brought for the redress of injuries caused by animals.


(a) A person who uses a service animal with a harness or leash of the type commonly used by persons with disabilities who use trained animals, in order to represent that his or her animal is a specially trained service animal when training has not in fact been provided, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, on conviction, shall be punished by:

(1) a fine of not more than $300; and

(2) 30 hours of community service to be performed for a governmental entity or nonprofit organization that primarily serves persons with visual impairments or other disabilities, or for another entity or organization at the discretion of the court, to be completed in not more than one year.

(b) A person who habitually abuses or neglects to feed or otherwise neglects to properly care for his or her emotional support animal is subject to seizure of the animal under Subchapter B, Chapter 821, Health and Safety Code.

Procedures and Requirements for Emotional Support Animals

All Emotional Support Animal requests must be submitted to SDS, located in 130 Weeks Hall, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX. After SDS has approved the accommodation of an Emotional Support Animal, the student is responsible for submitting the approval to the University Student Housing Welcome Center along with any other required documentation.

No animal will be permitted in a residence hall or an apartment that:

  • Is not approved by SDS
  • Is not approved by the University Student Housing Welcome Center
  • Poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others
  • Would cause substantial physical damage to university property and other residents
  • Would pose an undue financial and administrative burden to TTU
  • Would fundamentally alter the nature of the university's housing operations.

Standards for Approved Emotional Support Animals

  • Approval will be granted for one emotional support animal.
  • Animals must be a dog, cat, small bird, rabbit, hamster, gerbil, other rodent, fish, turtle, or other small domesticated animal that is traditionally kept in the home as a pet.
  • There are no restrictions on animal breed; however, animal size may need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • All approved service or emotional support animals must comply with applicable laws regarding animals, including Chapter 4 - Animals in the City of Lubbock Code of Ordinances, their treatment, and care.

Standards of Behavior by Animal and Animal Owner

Health, sanitary, safety, and disruptive standards must be maintained as follows:

  • Animals require daily food and attention, as well as a daily assessment of their general health, behavior and overall welfare.
  • Animals cannot be left unattended overnight at any time. If the owner must be away, they must either take the animal with them, or make arrangements for them to be cared for elsewhere, which does not include other residence hall or apartment spaces.
  • Emotional support animals must not be taken into a residence hall or apartment office, administrative offices, common space, or student living areas.
  • Animal waste must be taken care of, and any animal handler or owner must comply with Section 4.01.002- Animals defecating on public and private property. Animal feces, defined as cat litter box contents and any solid animal waste, must be disposed of properly. It is the owner's responsibility to remove feces from university grounds, dispose of it in a plastic bag, and then place that bag in the garbage dumpsters outside. Cleanup must occur immediately. Animal feces may not be disposed of in any trash receptacle or through the sewer system inside any building on the TTU campus. Waste must be taken to any residence hall or apartment dumpster for disposal.
  • Residents with cats must properly maintain litter boxes. In consideration of the health of the cat and occupants of the apartment or the residence hall room, cat litter box contents must be disposed of properly and regularly. The litter box must be changed with new cat litter regularly as outlined by the manufacturer.
  • Animal-accidents within the residence hall room or apartment must be promptly cleaned up using appropriate cleaning products.
  • Regular and routine cleaning of floors, kennels, cages, and litter boxes must occur. The odor of an animal emanating from the residence hall room or apartment is not acceptable (see Cleaning Section below).
  • Any flea infestation must be attended to promptly by the University Student Housing Welcome Center's contracted professional extermination company at owner's expense. Owners are expected to promptly notify the hall office or the University Student Housing Welcome Center staff via the FixIt work order system and arrange for extermination when a flea problem is noted. Animal owners may take some precautionary measures such as flea medications prescribed by veterinarians, flea and tick collars, taking your animal to the veterinarian for flea and tick baths. However, the University Student Housing Welcome Center staff may not use chemical agents and insecticides to exterminate fleas and ticks. Because not all of the precautions listed above can prevent flea and tick infestations, the owner is responsible for extermination costs after vacating the residence hall room or apartment.
  • Animals must not be allowed to disrupt others (e.g., barking continuously, growling, yowling, howling, etc.). Animals which constitute a threat or nuisance to staff, residents or property, as determined by the University Student Housing Welcome Center Managing Director or designee, must be removed within seven (7) days of notification. If Texas Tech Police Department personnel determine an animal poses an immediate threat, animal control may be summoned to remove the animal. If the behavior of the animal can be addressed by the owner, and the owner can change the behavior of the animal so that it does not have to be removed, then a written action plan must be submitted by the owner. The action plan must outline the action to take place to alleviate the problems and also must give a deadline as to length of time the plan will take to complete. Any action plan must meet the approval of the University Student Housing Welcome Center Managing Director or designee. The day after the deadline for removal from the apartment, the University Student Housing Welcome Center staff will do a residence hall room or apartment inspection to check damages and infestation and then the mandatory cleaning and extermination will be scheduled. Any animal owner found not adhering to the removal directive will be subject to disciplinary action, which could include contract cancellation.
  • An animal must not be involved in an incident where a person experiences either the threat of or an actual injury as a result of the animal's behavior. The animal owner will take all reasonable precautions to protect university staff and residents, as well as the property of the university and that of the residents.
  • The owner will notify the University Student Housing Welcome Center staff via the hall office if the animal has escaped its confines and is unable to be located within eight (8) hours.
  • All liability for the actions of the animal (bites, scratches, etc.) is the responsibility of the owner. Violations concerning any of the aforementioned may result in the resident having to find alternative housing off-campus for the animal and, as warranted, may also result in a resident being in breach of their housing contract.

Cleaning and Damages

  • When the resident moves out of his/her apartment or residence hall room, or no longer owns the animal, the apartment or residence hall room will be assessed to determine if damage to property can be attributed to the animal. The Division maintains the right to conduct apartment or residence hall room inspections annually for the purpose of assessing damage caused by the animal or otherwise determine the resident's compliance with this procedure.
  • The animal owner has an obligation to make sure that the apartment or residence hall room is as clean as the original standard. If the apartment or room has carpeting, this also includes regular vacuuming and spot cleaning. Damages and extraordinary cleaning caused by the animal are the responsibility of the resident. Replacement or repair of damaged items will be the financial responsibility of the owner and assessed by members of the University Student Housing Welcome Center staff.

Document adapted with permission from the University of Texas, Austin, TX, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, GA, and Georgia College, Milledgeville, GA.

Emotional Support Animals in University Housing

Requirements for Housing approval include:

  • Acknowledgement form which provides animal information and the animal's health affirmation
  • Signed Service and Emotional Support Animal Procedure Form wherein the student agrees to the maintenance of the animal
  • Signed Roommate(s) agreement if the student has one or more roommates.

If you have any questions about emotional support animals in the residence halls, please email the University Student Housing Welcome Center or call them at (806) 742-2661.

Student Disability Services