Assistance Animal Policy

Assistance, Therapy and Emotional Support Animals Defined

In compliance with the FHA Act, Section 504 and the ADA as they apply simultaneously for housing associated with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as a public institution are obligated to make reasonable accommodations for Assistance Animals in Residence Halls and housing areas run by the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Under this law, The University of Massachusetts, Amherst is committed to providing appropriate access to all on-campus residents with a documented disability.

Animals that provide Assistance/Emotional/Therapy Support which are recommended by a medical professional for a person with a disability can qualify as an accommodation. Assistance Animals qualify as an accommodation for emotional/therapy support for some disabilities as the animal has a calming influence and provides affection and stability for the well-being, comfort, or companionship. Assistance Animals are not considered the same as a Service Animal because it does not perform tasks to assist with an individual’s daily living.


*Pets ARE NOT allowed on campus because a pet is not considered an assistance animal and is not an accommodation for a disability. A pet is defined as any domesticated or tamed animal that is kept as a companion and cared for affectionately.  

Where Assistance Animals Are Allowed

Animals are allowed in the person with a disability’s room, apartment or suite only. Animals may access hallways, stairwells and entrances/exits for the expressed purpose of removing the animal for care and returning the animal back to the approved room.

Reason for Verification of Assistance, Emotional Support, or Therapy Animals

The University of Massachusetts wants to ensure the health and safety of Animals allowed on campus. Animals living in housing will be accounted for in case of emergencies such as fire or other unforeseen events. The animals will be listed in the alarm box so the Fire Department can ensure the safety of the Animal. See sidebar for additional materials.