New guidelines say emotional pets may be allowed in dorms - Tucson News Now

New federal guidelines say emotional pets may be allowed in dorms

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TEMPE, AZ (CBS5) -

There are a lot of things students try to bring with them to college that can get them in trouble. The list of things banned from the dorms at Arizona State University, for example, is five pages long. But new federal guidelines mean schools won't have the power to say "no" to students who want to bring their dogs to school.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development amended the current guidelines in April to say anyone with a disability is entitled to accommodations for their assistance animal, which now includes emotional support pets, even at university housing.

"We train our dogs in over 90 behaviors, so they can do things like open and close doors, push elevator buttons," said Robyn Abels with Power Paws. They train service dogs, but Abels said emotional support pets are different.

"They're typically not trained to perform any specific task. Their job is to emotionally support the person, make them feel better," Abels said.

Since the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has declared anyone with a doctor's note is entitled to public housing for their service pet, which would include an emotional support animal, Abels is worried some might take advantage.

"We get calls all the time from people saying, 'How do I buy one of your vests? I want to take my dog shopping with me,'" she said.

Arizona State University sent us a statement saying:

"To ensure student success, the university reviews all housing accommodation requests in consultation with ASU's Disability Resource Center (DRC) and follows the department's recommendations. That includes accommodations for service and therapy animals in residence halls as determined appropriate by DRC. We will continue to work with students and DRC to support accommodations needed on an individual case-by-case basis. We have had a few students live on campus with service animals and therapy animals."

Students gave their thoughts about the potential change in population.

"If it's something serious as a disability that they truly do need it, I would prefer that standard part of it," said Tiffany Wells.

"I've got two dogs myself so I would definitely, if I had the opportunity to live in the dorms, bring them," said Mark Keppler.

"You will run into people that are going to abuse it in a sense that they're going to use that excuse but they just want to bring their pets," said Quinn Luu.

To visit Power Paws online, visit: http://azpowerpaws.org.

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