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Student Disability Services

Emotional Support Animal Request Process

The following information outlines the process for requesting an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) in university housing. Please note that we will need to receive medical documentation from a licensed clinician that clearly indicates you have a disability; the documentation must also indicate that the clinician is recommending or prescribing an ESA as a result of your disability. The documentation must articulate how the presence of living with an animal in university housing is necessary in alleviating the symptoms of your disability. 

Some important points for you to know as you consider making a request for an Emotional Support Animal in university housing:

  • The documentation must come from a clinician who is managing your care.
  • We will not accept as documentation letters from online companies that provide such letters for a fee. Additionally, web based "certifications" of support animals are not considered appropriate documentation.
  • Emotional support animals are only permitted in Butler University Housing and are prohibited from classrooms and other buildings on campus.

Below is a description of the process that would happen should you decide to pursue an ESA request:

  1. The student must schedule a meeting with a staff member in Student Disability Services in order to register for services and discuss the accommodations process.
  2. The student will provide a typed statement in which they make the request and state why they are making the request. This statement must include a description of the animal the student hopes to bring and how the animal provides them emotional support. The statement form is available in SDS.
  3. The student’s clinician will be required to complete a verification form which includes a detailed recommendation regarding an ESA. The verification form can be obtained from SDS.
  4. The student signs a release allowing SDS to discuss the request with the recommending clinician should there be questions. The release form is available in SDS.
  5. A committee consisting of staff members from Student Disability Services, Residence Life, Counseling and Consultation Services, and other relevant campus entities as needed, will meet to review the documentation and determine if the request is a reasonable accommodation.
  6. Within 30 days of their submission of the fully completed ESA request packet, the student will be notified by SDS via email regarding the committee decision. The completed request packet includes the ESA Clinician Verification Form, the ESA Student Request Form, and all relevant release forms. This timeframe may be extended as necessary by the University in its sole discretion.
  7. If the request is granted, the student will be contacted by Residence Life to discuss their policies around animals in university housing. The student must review and sign an agreement indicating their understanding of their responsibilities associated with the emotional support animal.
  8. Each year during housing assignment lottery, students must indicate on their housing contract that they need a “disability-related accommodation request” in housing.
  9. The university reserves the right to require updated vaccination and health/safety information regarding the animal.

For additional information or to discuss your individual circumstances, contact Student Disability Services in Jordan Hall 136, by email at sds@butler.edu, or by phone at 317-940-9308.