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Animal Policy 

This policy is aimed at safeguarding the safety and well-being of members of Simpson College’s campus community, while complying with all applicable laws regarding animals on campus, including the Fair Housing Act, the Americans with Disabilities ActSection 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Iowa Civil Rights Act, and Iowa Code sections 216C.5.10, and .11, the provisions of which are incorporated herein by this reference.  This policy does not confer contractual rights, and Simpson College reserves the right to amend this policy at any time, with or without notice.

Policy: Other than Approved Animals (as defined below), animals are not permitted in Simpson College facilities.


Approved Animal – “Approved Animal” means:

  • A Service Animal (as defined below)
  • An Assistance Animal (as defined below)
  • A Service-Animal-In-Training (as defined below)
  • Fish kept in a bowl/tank holding 10 gallons or less
  • An animal whose Owner (as defined below) has obtained special permission from the Dean of Students to bring an animal to campus for special events, educational purposes, etc.

Disability – “Disability” means a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of a person’s major life activities.

Owner – “Owner” means:

  • in the case of a Service Animal, the person for whom the Service Animal is doing work or performing tasks;
  • in the case of an Assistance Animal, the person the animal is assisting;
  • in the case of a Service-Animal-in-Training, the person providing the training while the animal is on Simpson College’s campus;
  • in the case of all other Approved Animals, the person who brought the animal onto Simpson College’s campus.

Service Animal – A “Service Animal” is a dog (or if it can be accommodated in the facility, a miniature horse) that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a Disability (e.g., guide people who are blind, alert people who are deaf, pull a wheelchair, alert and protect a person who is having a seizure, remind a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calm a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, etc.).

Assistance Animal – “Assistance Animal” means:

  • An animal that works, assists, or performs tasks for the benefit of a person with a Disability; or
  • An animal that provides emotional support that alleviates one or more identified symptoms or effects of a person’s Disability.

Service-Animal-in-Training – “Service-Animal-in-Training” means a dog, or miniature horse in the process of being trained to assist a person with a disability.

Guidelines for Service Animals

  1. A Service Animal can accompany its Owner everywhere the Owner is allowed to go.
  2. Service Animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the Service Animal’s work or the Owner’s disability prevents using these devices (in which case, the Owner must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls).
  3. Simpson College need not accommodate a Service Animal if:
    • It is not housebroken;
    • Its Owner cannot effectively control it; or
    • It poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others (e.g., displays vicious behavior).
  4. The care or supervision of a Service Animal is solely the responsibility of its Owner.  Simpson College is not required to provide care or food or a special location for the animal.
  5. When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, Simpson College staff may ask the Owner: (1) whether the animal is a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) to state what work or task has the animal been trained to perform.
  6. If the Service Animal is to reside with the Owner in campus housing, refer to the Guidelines for Assistance Animals, below.

Guidelines for Assistance Animals

  1. An Assistance Animal that does not constitute a Service Animal (e.g., an emotional support animal) must be contained within the Owner’s private residential area (room, suite, apartment, or yard spaces) at all times, except when transported outside the private residential area to travel off campus in an animal carrier or controlled by leash or harness.
  2. Assistance Animals (that do not constitute Service Animals) may not accompany their Owners to classes or into campus facilities other than the Owner’s designated residence.
  3. Owners who intend to bring Assistance Animals to campus to reside in on-campus housing must notify Simpson College of their intent to do so and be approved to do so prior to bringing the animal to campus.
  4. Simpson College may ask Owners who have disabilities that are not readily apparent or known to the College to submit reliable documentation of a disability and their disability-related need for an assistance animal.
  5. If the Owner’s disability is readily apparent or known to the College but the disability-related need for the assistance animal is not, the College may ask the Owner to provide documentation of the disability-related need for an assistance animal.
  6. Where it is not readily apparent that an animal constitutes an Assistance Animal under the Fair Housing Act, the Owner may be required to provide documentation from a physician, psychiatrist, social worker, or other mental health professional demonstrating that the animal provides support that alleviates at least one of the identified symptoms or effects of the existing disability.
  7. The care or supervision of an Assistance Animal is solely the responsibility of its Owner.  Simpson College is not required to provide care or food or a special location for the animal.
  8. Simpson College need not accommodate an Assistance Animal if:
    • It poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others (e.g., displays vicious behavior).
    • If it would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the College or it would fundamentally alter the nature of the College’s operations.[i]

Guidelines for Service-Animals-in-Training

  1. Service-Animals-in-Training may accompany their Owner anywhere the Owner is permitted to be.
  2. Owners of Service-Animals-in-Training must keep the animals under control at all times while on Simpson College property.

Expectations for All Owners of Approved Animals

  1. Owners are expected to comply with all applicable state and local laws and ordinances concerning their animals.[ii]
  2. Owners are financially responsible for the actions of the Approved Animal including bodily injury or property damage. 
  3. Simpson College may require the Owner to cover the costs of repairs for damage their animal causes to the dwelling unit or the common areas (reasonable wear and tear excepted), to the same extent the College charges any other residents for damage they cause to the premises. This may include steam cleaning charges to remove odor, allergens, or stains.
  4. Owners are expected to ensure and provide documentation upon request that their Approved Animals are current on required vaccinations (e.g., rabies) and that they are free of parasites (e.g., fleas and ticks).
  5. Owners of Approved animals must comply with the same College rules regarding noise, safety, disruption, and cleanliness as other residents of campus housing.
  6. The effect on others in the residential housing unit must be considered, including the potential effect on persons with allergies to animal hair or dander, as well as the willingness of roommates to share their housing with an animal.  Depending on such considerations, an alternative housing assignment may be considered.

[i] The determination of undue financial and administrative burden will be made on a case-by-case basis considering various factors, including the availability of alternative accommodations that would effectively meet the Owner’s disability-related needs.

[ii] For applicable City of Indianola’s Code of Ordinances, see Chapters 55 and 56 here:  http://www.indianolaiowa.gov/151/City-Code-and-Policies