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Animals Policy

In general, no pets are allowed in the residence halls except fish in an aquarium of 10 gallons or less, while dogs are generally allowed on campus grounds (while on leashes) or in offices (with prior supervisor approval).

Exceptions to our general policy will be made when an animal is necessary to accommodate Green Mountain College students, faculty and staff with certain physical disabilities or psychological needs. All accommodations must respect the rights of other members of our educational community and the welfare of animals. The primary mission of the College to educate students will guide policy in this area.

Campus offices and residence hall rooms are not ideal environments for animals. Domestic animals need to be well cared for and supervised. Local wildlife, such as birds and squirrels, need to be safe from the domestic animals that are allowed on campus.

Animals can be a danger to self or others, can behave in a way that significantly disrupts the living and learning environment of the College, and can be destructive to property. All domestic animals on campus need to be free from harmful parasites and infectious diseases; restrained from biting, scratching or otherwise injuring others; and supervised so that undue stress to those who have been traumatized from past experiences with animals does not occur.

The College reserves the right to limit the type of animal requested if it could pose a direct threat to the health or safety of members of the community. See following table:



Size Restrictions:

Breed & Species

Age Restrictions:








Less than
40 lbs.

No aggressive
breeds *

Over 1 year



Less than
15 lbs.

No exotic

Over 1
year old




All breeds




Tank less
than 10 gallons

No exotic/dangerous
breeds (i.e. piranhas)


Small Caged Mammals


Cage No Larger than 16' sq.

No hedgehogs

Must be

* Restricted breeds due to aggressive behavior: pitbulls; akitas; German shepherds; any wolf hybrid

Expectations, Rights, and Responsibilities Related to Having Animals on Campus:

Expectation of Care and Supervision:

1. The animal will be the full responsibility of the individual and the owner must be consistently in control of the animal. If the animal is not under control, disruptive, or poses a risk to the health or safety of others, then the individual may be asked to remove the animal.

2. The animal must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered when not in the owner’s private residence or office, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. Exceptions may be granted in a situation when the animal is in the owner’s private residence, when the animal needs to perform a task requiring it to travel beyond the length of the restraint, or when the owner is unable to retain an animal on a leash due to a disability.

3. Campus Security Officers must be able to enter all rooms on campus without threat of harm. Any animal that threatens an officer attempting to enter a campus room in the line of duty will be removed from campus.

4. The owner is responsible for removing or arranging for the bagging of the animal’s waste according to guidelines established by Green Mountain College.

5. Individuals will be responsible for any damage that is caused by their animals including cost for treating parasitic infestations.

6. Green Mountain College has the authority to remove an animal from its grounds or facilities if the animal becomes unruly or disruptive, unclean, and/or unhealthy to the extent that the animal’s behavior or condition poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or otherwise causes a fundamental alteration in the College’s services, programs, or activities.

7. Animals are not allowed in College bathrooms or shower facilities unless required as a service animal.

8. Owners of the animals will hang a sign on their room door notifying their neighbors of the presence of the type of animal that is present in the room.


According to Vermont law, any dog that has reached a proper level of maturity must be licensed and must display a license on its collar at all times.


Animals on campus must have an annual clean bill of health (including vaccinations and immunity shots against rabies and/or other diseases common to the type of animal) that is signed by a licensed veterinarian. A valid vaccination tag must be worn by the animal at all times. Owners need to make sure that the animal is kept clean as possible. Regular bathing/grooming and pest control measures also need to be performed by the owner.

Procedural Steps for a Service or Therapy Animals in College Housing

A request to have a therapy animal in campus housing is considered a request for accommodation. The process begins by the student downloading the form from the MyGMC page for the Calhoun Learning Center, called the “Housing Accommodation Request Form.” This form will be completed by a licensed medical doctor or licensed mental health professional and submitted to the Coordinator for Accommodations who works in the Calhoun Learning Center. This office will communicate with the Director of Residence Life for necessary information and guidance. The Director of Residence Life will make the decision regarding the accommodation.

All such requests should be made annually with at least a 30 days’ notice and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Individuals making such requests must have a letter or prescription from an appropriate professional (licensed medical doctor or therapist) that establishes that the support animal is medicallyor psychologically necessary for the student to be successful at the college and demonstrates a relationship between the student’s ability to function and the companionship/support of the animal.

The therapeutic needs of the person requesting an accommodation will be a weighing consideration. Other factors taken in consideration in this accommodation request will include, but will not be limited to, public safety, public health, ecosystem health, and the welfare of the therapy animal in the specific residential setting. Documentation should be forwarded to the Calhoun Learning Center ( The Calhoun Learning Center is the designated office for implementing the appropriate provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by coordinating reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.

Service Animal

Service animals are defined under the 2010 revised requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities” ( animals 2010.htm). As of March 15, 2011, only dogs are defined as service animals. Disabilities include, but are not limited to, physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Examples might include pulling a wheelchair, assisting during a seizure, alerting to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability, and preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors.

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which set the relevant standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, individuals with disabilities may use service animals in any public area unless doing so would pose a danger to the health or safety of others or cause undue burden. Individuals with disabilities who use a service animal on campus are not required but strongly encouraged to register with the Calhoun Learning Center. Individuals who wish to have a service animal in student housing must make a formal request for this accommodation.

Therapy Animal

Therapy animals are defined under the Fair Housing Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as any animal prescribed by a licensed mental healthcare professional as necessary in the treatment of a diagnosed condition. These animals are not required to undergo specialized training. Therapy animals are not the same as service animals in that they are not individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. A request to have a therapy animal in campus housing is considered a request for accommodation and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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