Methodist University is committed to providing individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to use and enjoy all the campus entails, including University Housing. Although SA & ESA both fall under the Fair Housing Act, the process to bring one on campus is different.

Service Animal

Service Animals (SA) are defined as a dog that is trained to do work or perform a specific task for a person with a disability. Only two questions may be asked of an individual with a service animal:

  • Is there a disability?
  • Is the animal trained to complete a specific task/duty?

Service Animals do not have a breed restriction and cannot be required to be spade or neutered.

a German Shepherd dog a Collie dog a Rottweiler dog a Golden Retriever dog

Legally, individuals with service animals are not required to register their animals; therefore, neither SAAS nor any campus department keeps documentation/record of Service Animals. SAs are not required to wear a vest or be leashed.

Handlers must retain good control over the animal, and the animal must be well behaved. SA should not growl, lunge, or be disruptive.

SA living on campus must complete the Housing & Residence process.

For questions or concerns regarding service animals, please contact SAAS at

Emotional Support Animals

An emotional support/comfort/therapy animal (ESA) is any animal that provides emotional support, well-being, or companionship that helps symptoms of a person’s disability, such as anxiety or depression. The ESA is not individually trained. Instead, it offers support just by being present for the person with a disability.

The role of SAAS is to verify the student’s documentation for an ESA and send verification to Housing & Residence Life.  Housing and Residence Life handles the remainder of the process.  The process for approval to bring the ESA on campus can take up to 30 days. Please be advised: If you bring your ESA to your residence before you have received approval from Residence Life, you will be subject to fines and/or removal of the animal.

a ferret a rabbit a cat a bearded dragon

The process to register an emotional support animal (ESA) is listed below.

ESA Approval Process

  1. Complete the online Student Information Form.
  2. Submit to SAAS signed documentation on professional letterhead from a qualified professional who is currently treating you. Email the documentation
  3. The letter must contain the following information:
    • your name.
    • your diagnosis.
    • what the animal is (i.e. dog, cat, rabbit, etc.).
    • a nexus (connection) between your treatment plan and ESA.
  4. Once the correct documentation has been received, SAAS will email Residence Life and you confirming the appropriate documentation is on file.
  5. Complete Residence and Housing process.

ESAs are to be well behaved (no loud noises, biting, etc.) You are allowed only ONE ESA. If the ESA is a dog or a cat, the animal must be spayed/neutered and have all vaccinations before it is allowed on campus. Residence’s process must be completed prior to bringing the ESA.

Only approved Emotional Support Animals (ESA) are allowed in Residence housing.  ESAs are not allowed in other campus buildings, including classroom buildings, Berns Student Center, and the Library.