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Will any boarding schools allow me to have an ESA cat? Where could I go?

aulei73aulei73 0 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6 New Member
I'd like to go to a boarding school, but I want to be able to have a cat. Could I?
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Replies to: Will any boarding schools allow me to have an ESA cat? Where could I go?

  • CC4lifeCC4life 241 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 251 Junior Member
    edited June 8
    I really don't believe there are any boarding schools, at least any that I know of that would allow you to bring your own ESA cat with you to the school. I suggest looking at this thread for schools that are animal friendly:

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/prep-school-admissions/1220986-boarding-schools-that-have-animals.html

    .Although I'm not sure how helpful that will be considering your necessity for the cat. Of course, you might want to check with the admissions office for information regarding ESA animals, but I know you DEFINITELY cannot bring regular pets. The vast majority of schools, however, do have teachers living on campus who often times have cats or dogs and while they may not be yours, teachers often allow students to be very involved in the care of these animals.
    edited June 8
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  • vwlizardvwlizard 308 replies30 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 338 Member
    An ESA is not a service animal and such does not fall under the mandates of the ADA.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22104 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 22,118 Senior Member
    It's not a service animals. ESA animals must be accommodated in housing and airline situations, so I believe EVERY housing situation must allow ESA animals. However, you should make it a priority to work with the school, to pick a school that wants you to have your ESA animal. Do your research. Talk to the schools about the dorm set up.
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  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 3930 replies55 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,985 Senior Member
    edited June 9
    @twoinanddone
    "ESA animals must be accommodated in housing and airline situations, so I believe EVERY housing situation must allow ESA animals."

    There is a federal law saying Emotional Support Animals must be accommodated in every housing and airline situation? Please share the law.
    edited June 9
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22104 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 22,118 Senior Member
    An emotional support animal is a companion animal that provides therapeutic benefit to an individual with a mental or psychiatric disability. ... The animal is viewed as a "reasonable accommodation" under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHA or FHAct) to those housing communities that have a "no pets" rule.

    The boarding school might claim it doesn't fall under the fair housing act, but if it does, they have to make accommodations if possible.
    4. Does the Fair Housing Act (FHA) apply to all housing?

    The Fair Housing Act (FHA) does apply to almost all housing types including those for sale or rent. This includes apartments, condominiums, and single family homes. Here is how HUD describes what housing is covered:

    What Types of Housing Are Covered?

    The Fair Housing Act covers most housing. In very limited circumstances, the Act exempts owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units, single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent, and housing operated by religious organizations and private clubs that limit occupancy to members.
    16. Can I bring my emotional support animal/assistance animal to university or on-campus housing?

    A couple of courts have dealt with this issue. Many college campuses have "no pets" rules for their housing. One case said that on-campus housing meets the definition of "dwelling" under the Fair Housing Act. Thus, that college was required to make reasonable accommodations for disabled students under the Fair Housing Act in its on-campus housing. Many colleges and universities have now adopted policies for the use of assistance animals in housing.


    So the issue is whether a boarding school falls under FHA. Would the prep school have to make accommodations for a physically condition? Sometimes yes but sometimes it isn't possible (wheelchairs on the third floor? ramps built on an historic building?)
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32694 replies350 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 33,044 Senior Member
    Q. "Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?
    A. No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws."
    https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html

    I'd consider whether boarding school is truly the right chouce.
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  • suzyQ7suzyQ7 3930 replies55 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,985 Senior Member
    edited June 9
    What does "reasonable accommodation" mean? A cat (or other let) very well could cause other students to have medical issues. I don't read any of that as required.

    Also, if it's a HUD provision, where do planes and public transportation come into play?
    edited June 9
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 22104 replies14 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 22,118 Senior Member
    Well, would it be reasonable to have this student who needs an ESA share with another student who likes cats, dogs, or alligators? Is it reasonable to have a cat but not an alligator? So much depends on the set up. If they are sleeping in dormitories like Madeline, 12 girls in two straight lines, it's unlikely an accommodation can be made. If each student has a suite with a sink for water and a place to store food? Maybe.

    Colleges are doing it. My daughter's sorority had a request but there was the issue that someone else was allergic. The requestor never moved in so issue resolved.

    The requestor also has to be responsible for the animal, to keep it contained or walk it, or otherwise follow the rules. I think any prep school is going to fight this as no possible for the accommodation. Except Hogwarts.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 37910 replies6564 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 44,474 Super Moderator
    edited June 9
    MODERATOR'S NOTE:
    What does "reasonable accommodation" mean?
    Let's move past this broader issue, or discuss on another thread. Similarly, let's move past discussion of ESA on planes, trains, etc.

    The OP is asking a specific question, and depending on the school, the answer is yes or no. For most schools it will be no, but again, its school-specific.. Whether they should be allowed, or whether the school is in compliance with federal laws, is a larger question. But if the school currently says no, any change as the result of policy shift or legal action will not occur in time to impact the OP.
    edited June 9
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  • Sue22Sue22 6092 replies106 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 6,198 Senior Member
    You'd have to ask the individual schools. The problem is that the question itself might indicate to admissions that you're not ready for boarding school.

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  • jym626jym626 54938 replies2852 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 57,790 Senior Member
    edited June 9
    OP has posted elsewhere that boarding school is not a realistic option for her. Perhaps a therapeutic residential school is what she is referring to?
    edited June 9
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  • Golfgr8Golfgr8 976 replies17 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 993 Member
    FWIW, if you’re reading this and you need/like this type of support, be assured that there are dozens of dogs, cats, and other animals on most campuses. Dorm parents, faculty, admin people have animal companions at their homes or in the dorms on campus. There was a dog in kiddo’s dorm this year. Also, if you really like animals, you should check out Millbrook - they have their own zoo!
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  • MAandMEmomMAandMEmom 1600 replies9 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,609 Senior Member
    I personally think it is a bad idea to ask a school if you can bring an ESA to board with you. I would gather it would raise some potential undue red flags. Just my two cents of course!
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  • damon30damon30 1147 replies5 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,152 Senior Member
    Per post #10, hopefully this is relevant to the OP.

    @aulei73 These are the rules on ESAs: https://www.animallaw.info/article/faqs-emotional-support-animals
    An emotional support animal is a type of assistance animal that is recognized as a "reasonable accommodation" for a person with a disability under the federal Fair Housing Act (FHAct, 42 U.S.C.A. 3601 et seq.). The assistance animal is not a pet according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD is the agency that oversees the FHAct and investigates claims of housing discrimination.

    There are only two questions that HUD says a housing provider should consider with a request for an assistance animal as a reasonable accommodation:

    (1) Does the person seeking to use and live with the animal have a disability — i.e., a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities?

    (2) Does the person making the request have a disability-related need for an assistance animal? In other words, does the animal work, provide assistance, perform tasks or services for the benefit of a person with a disability, or provide emotional support that alleviates one or more of the identified symptoms or effects of a person's existing disability?
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  • CaliMexCaliMex 1684 replies34 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,718 Senior Member
    There are lots of faculty dogs and cats at boarding schools, so you can have access to a cat on a regular basis even if you aren't allowed to have your very own. At my daughter's school, there is a club that brings kittens and puppies on campus from time to time, too, usually during finals. Kids at Thacher are also assigned a horse to care for during freshman year. (Horses can be tremendously therapeutic).
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  • TheSwamiTheSwami 66 replies4 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 70 Junior Member
    Target schools based on other interests and then ask. I disagree with those advising not to mention it. In my opinion, if the ESA cat is going to bias the school against you then you don’t need to go there anyway.

    Another thought I had was to randomly call a couple of schools just to get a sense of how common the question is and to help gauge how difficult this issue will be to figure out.
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