Animals on Campus Policy

This document describes the College-wide policy governing animals on campus.


This policy applies to all on-campus, College-controlled properties. Pets on campus can pose a significant risk to Alma College and its community. This policy standardizes the College’s position on the management of animals on Alma College property.

Because of safety and sanitary considerations, animals may not be brought into campus buildings except in the following circumstances:


  1. Certified service animals providing assistance to disabled persons or for emergency personnel.
  2. Student pets in accordance with the Student Housing Manual.
  3. Staff pets that match the criteria of student pets.
  4. A properly restrained domesticated animal brought to campus by a member of the campus community for less than five minutes under the circumstances described in the “Implementation and Enforcement” section below.

All pets brought onto campus outdoor spaces must be leashed, not left unattended and all waste must be picked up.


The purpose of this policy is to provide for the health and safety of Alma College faculty, staff and visitors and for the protection of the College’s property/assets. This policy is intended to allow pets/service animals on campus in a way that provides for the restraint of these animals and also provides for some protection for those on campus from animals exhibiting dangerous behavior.


The Director of Facilities will oversee this policy, through the Campus Security Staff.


A. College-controlled property - Property that is owned, operated, and/or maintained by the College.

B. Service Animal - A guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Police K-9’s are also considered a service animal as well as other animals that work for emergency personnel.

C. Certified Therapy Animals - An animal that is trained and certified by a national organization to provide therapy

D. Student and staff pets - Animals allowed under the student housing guidelines.

E. Animals at Large - An animal that is either unattended or unrestrained by its owner.


Health & Safety Concerns

Pets can pose various health and safety concerns to the campus community such as allergic reactions to animal dander, excessive noise, animal bites, and disease transmission (i.e., fleas, ticks, parasites, viruses, bacteria, etc.) Individuals with a disability that requires the use of a service animal are at particular risk. For example, a dog running at large poses a hazard to an individual using a service dog, should there be confrontation between the two animals.

Inside/Outside Facility Guidelines

It is prohibited to bring animals inside a College-controlled building, except for the animals listed in the exemption section of this policy. While on College-controlled properties, pets must be maintained on a leash of six feet or shorter, on a restraining harness, or in a caged enclosure.

Pet owners are responsible for cleaning up any messes made by their pet. Anyone who brings a pet on College-controlled property assumes all financial responsibility for any damages to property or injury to individuals caused by the animal.

Pets may not be tethered to College buildings, structures, motor vehicles, trees, railings, light poles, benches, posts, or other structures.
Pets and Therapy Animals must have appropriate behavior while on campus. Any animal that is deemed by the College to be a threat to the health or safety of any member of the campus community or to any other animal must be removed from campus. The Director of Facilities is authorized to initiate such action regardless of whether the animal posing a threat would otherwise be permitted on campus under the general guidelines of this Policy.

Domestic Animals or Therapy Animals may be confined in vehicles parked on campus for a reasonable period of time as long as the animal is not endangered and does not endanger others or create a public nuisance. The animal must not be able to get out of the vehicle through any opening while unattended. In the event of endangerment to the animal or others, or public nuisance, the animal’s handler or owner will be asked to remove the animal or the animal may be humanely impounded. Please note that during extreme heat, and when the sun is shining on the vehicle, the temperature inside a vehicle can become dangerous for animals, even with the windows rolled down.

Pet Policy

Animals permitted in student housing or other College-operated buildings include tropical fish, small lizards (geckos, chameleons, etc.) ten inches or smaller in body, or small amphibians or reptiles (turtles) that must be contained in a tank at all times.

Prohibited Animals (non-service)

Except for those used in College-approved academic or experimental purposes, examples of unauthorized animals include but are not limited to cats, dogs, ferrets, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, hedgehogs, iguanas, mice, rats, rabbits, birds, snakes, spiders, scorpions and insects. Animals such as poisonous reptiles, constricting snakes (e.g., Boas, Pythons, and Anacondas) and other potentially dangerous or aggressive animals are prohibited from all college-controlled property (inside and outside) at all times.

Authorization for Education Purposes

Any service or therapy animals brought on campus for classroom demonstration purposes must first be cleared through the Executive Staff. Proof of certification or licensure may be required. A contact person who is an employee must be identified for the specific event. All other campus events that expect animal participation must similarly be pre-approved by Executive Staff.

Failure to Comply

A. Prohibited Animals on College-controlled Property

Any prohibited animals on a College-controlled property must be removed immediately. If a prohibited animal is observed on a College-controlled property, the owner may face disciplinary measures by appropriate authorities which may include Student Affairs, Student Housing, the College’s Human Resource Department, and/or the employee’s division or department.

B. Unattended, Unrestrained, Endangered, or Misbehaving Animals

If an unrestrained/unattended (other than in a vehicle)/endangered or misbehaving animal is observed, a reasonable attempt will be made to locate the animal’s owner. If attempts to find the animal’s owner are unsuccessful, the City of Alma Animal Control will be contacted; and they will remove the animal from College property. In either event the owner may face disciplinary measures by appropriate authorities which may include Student Affairs, Student Housing, the college’s Human Resource Department, and/or the employees division or department.

C. Property Damage

The College will seek restitution for any animal-related damage to college-controlled property, facilities, or grounds. The repair or replacement cost of damaged property is the sole responsibility of the owner of the animal that caused the damage. The College will also seek restitution for any animal-related medical or other expense, including but not limited to harm caused by bites, allergic reactions, disease, and other adverse animal-related interactions.


All members of the campus community share the responsibility of implementing all aspects of this Policy.

Alma College Campus Safety Department will enforce this policy. As a matter of practical application, if a member of the campus community enters inside a college-controlled building with a properly restrained domesticated pet for a short duration (5 minutes), campus safety does not need to act unless a complaint is filed.

To report the presence of an animal in violation of this Policy, call Campus Security at 989-463-7777.

Any member of the campus community who fails to comply or who interferes with the implementation of this Policy, including relocation of animals, will be subject to disciplinary action.


Doug Dice, Director of Facilities and Service Management (989) 463-7162