Emotional support animal policy revised at Quincy University

By Raven Ash

For Sam Mock, a senior, nothing provides more comfort than spending time with his Boxer, Milo. After a stressful day, interacting with Milo gives Mock the opportunity to emotionally unwind.

“It’s nice to have him because whenever I am stressed, it is nice to see someone who is always happy,” Mock said.

While pets are not typically allowed on Quincy University’s campus, Milo and many other four-legged pals are permitted to live with their owners inside of dorm halls.

These animals are emotional support animals permitted on campus because of their therapeutic relationships with students suffering from emotional disabilities.

Quincy University administration has revised the emotional support animal policy to better protect students, property, and the well-being of the animals living on campus.

In addition to previous requirements, it is now required that each student with an animal have liability insurance with a minimum of $1 million coverage. The new insurance policy is to protect Quincy University property and cover medical expenses of other students in case of bodily harm caused by an animal.

The university also requires students to sign off on an in-depth care plan that is designed to ensure the welfare of the animals. This document not only states the responsibilities of housing an animal on campus, but it also forces the student to have a clear plan of how they will properly care for their animals.

Expenses can be difficult for college students. The care plan addresses the financial responsibilities of having a pet. Students are asked to create a designated budget for their animal and provide a written response explaining how the student will make the necessary funds.

Students are busy bodies and most animals need a lot of attention. The university administration asks students to list who will be taking care of the animal while the student is busy. If another student is listed, a written notice signed by that student must also be turned into administration. This is the university’s way of looking to make sure the animal is in the hands of responsible caregivers.

While the revised policy aims to benefit all, emotional support animal owner Hannah Ellis fears that some emotional support animals will be turned away due to the new guidelines.

Ellis and her cat Bruce were the first therapeutic duo on campus. Ellis is passionate about how animals can make such an impact on a person’s mental and emotional well-being. She also is upset with those who take advantage of the university’s policy.

“It is heartbreaking, but honestly it would not have to be this way if people respected that these are working animals. It has come to the point where people are bringing animals to campus willy nilly and it discredits not only the work we have done for our animals to be here, but it discredits the mental health of us as a whole,” Ellis said.

The new guidelines will not only protect university property, students and the the animal, but it will also help regulate the proper use of the emotional support animal policy.

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