Steps to seek approval for an Emotional Support Animal

Note: We are updating our policies and procedures to assist in clarification.  We need this information at least 30 days prior to any possible approval of an ESA.

1. Read and review Support Animal policies

2. Go through check-list for ESA and follow directions

3. Documentation of Disability:The student will provide a completed medical documentation from a qualified medical professional explaining the following: a) The relationship between your disability and the assistance the support animal provides and b) How the support animal is necessary to provide you with equal access to college programs, activities and benefitsby providing these two providers signed and completed forms below. Other forms of documentation will be accepted, but additional necessary information not provided may be required.

  • Psychological Documentation form:


  • Emotional Support Animal Provider Form (attached)

4. Students must complete the ODSStudent Intake form, Confidentiality Agreement form and attach the specific information about your ESA to your intake form:


Please attach the following information to your intake form:

  • Your written request to use a support animal, including the following information
  • Date of diagnosis of your disability
  • Describe symptoms alleviated by your ESA
  • Date of the prescription for the support animal
  • Date you acquired support animal
  • Type of support animal you want to use
  • Description of the animal (weight, breed, color, etc.)
  • Support animal’s name
  • Whether the animal is housebroken

5. College Housing Animal Agreement: download, read carefully and sign.

6. Return all completed documents to the Office of Disability Services well in advance of requested date.

7. Once documents are reviewed, consultations are conducted with Residence Life and roommate issues are evaluated, a meeting (phone meetings are acceptable) will take place with Director of Disability Services prior to bringing the animal on campus. At this time, reasonable accommodations will be discussed. A final decision regarding this accommodation will be made within five business days.

II. Criteria for Determining if Presence of the ESA is Reasonable:

College housing is unique in several aspects including the mandatory assignment of roommates for many individuals and the mandate that individuals must share a room or suite in most college residences. To ensure that the presence of an ESA is not an undue administrative burden or fundamental alteration of college housing, Westmont College reserves the right to assign an individual with an ESA an alternative housing assignment, including a single room without a roommate.

  • For all requests for an ESA, Disability Services shall consult with Residence Life in making a determination on a case-by-case basis of whether the presence of an ESA is reasonable. A request for an ESA may be denied as unreasonable if the presence of the animal: 1) imposes an undue financial and/or administrative burden; 2) fundamentally alters college housing policies; and/or 3) poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others or would cause substantial property damage to the property of others, including College property.
  • Westmont College may consider the following factors, among others, as evidence in determining whether the presence of the ESA is reasonable or in the making of housing assignments for individuals with an ESA:
    • The size of the ESA is too large for available assigned housing space;
    • The ESA’s presence would force another individual from individual housing (e.g. serious allergies);
    • The ESA’s presence otherwise violates individuals’ right to peace and quiet enjoyment;
    • The ESA is not housebroken or is unable to live with others in a reasonable manner;
    • The ESA’s vaccinations are not up-to-date;
    • The ESA poses or has posed in the past a direct threat to the individual or others, such as aggressive behavior towards or injuring the individual or others;
    • The ESA causes or has caused excessive damage to housing beyond reasonable wear and tear; or
    • Dangerous, poisonous, oversized, and/or illegal animals are not permitted, as these would not be considered a reasonable accommodation in a community living environment.

III. Make appointment with ODS (after turning in supporting documentation):The student will schedule and participate in an appointment with ODS, during which the student’s request to have an ESA in college housing will be considered.The student will review theEmotional Support Animals Residential Policywith the ODS and discuss reasonable accommodations.

  • Approved Accommodation:If the ODS determines the request for an ESA accommodation is approved:
    • Animal Information:The Owner will submit to the ODS copies of appropriate vaccination documentation and current veterinary Health Certificate and Santa Barbara county license information.
    • Roommate Agreement:Where applicable, the Owner’s roommates, apartment mates or housemates will meet individually with the ODS and will review theEmotional Support Animals Residential Policyand complete theRoommate/Apartment Mate/Housemate Agreement Form.
    • Review:The ODS and the Director of Residential Life will review the Owner’s request, information gathered in the interview, documentation and completed forms (and as applicable,Roommate/Apartment Mate/Housemate Agreement Form) for the ESA to determine if the request is reasonable and necessary for the Owner to use and enjoy college housing.
  • Approved Animal and Housing:If the ODS and the Director of Residence Life determine the requested ESA accommodation is necessary and is not unreasonable:
    • The ODS will schedule a meeting with the Director of Residence Life and the student owner.The policy and agreement as well as specific information pertaining to the approved ESA will be reviewed and the Owner will be given an approved move in date.
    • The Resident Director and the Resident Assistant for the living area, where the Owner/ESA will be notified of the ESA as an accommodation.
    • Residence Life staff and Maintenance staff will be notified of the presence of the ESA as appropriate.
    • Neighbors, where applicable in residence halls, will be notified the Owner will be living with an ESA as an accommodation.
    • Should changes in housing assignment for the Owner or roommates be required, the Office of Residence Life and/or ODS will meet with the individuals and make arrangements for room assignment changes.
  • Denial of Accommodation/Appeal:
    • If Disability Services and the Director of Residence Life determine the request for an ESA accommodation is denied, Disability Services will contact the student and the Office of Residence Life in writing, within seven (7) business days of its determination.
    • If the individual is unwilling to accept the denial, the Office of Disability Services will provide written notification to the individual and the Office of Residential Life of the denial, the reasons for the denial, and the right to appeal the decision, and the procedures for that appeals The notification shall be in writing and made within seven (7) business days of the notification from the individual of his/her unwillingness to accept any of the alternative accommodations offered or the determination that there are no alternative accommodations available.

3. An individual may also use the grievance procedure provided under the general College antidiscrimination This grievance procedure can be found at:Students may appeal decisions made pursuant to this policy under the ODS Grievance Procedure found here.

  • All appeals are reviewed by the Westmont College ADA/Section 504 Compliance If the appeal is denied, Westmont College’s ADA/Section 504 Compliance Officer shall provide written notification of the denial to the individual and a written explanation with all of the reasons for the denial.