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This policy provides rules and guidelines for bringing animals on University property.


This policy applies to all employees, faculty, students and visitors of Tufts University.

Policy Statement

Tufts welcomes animals on campus consistent with the procedures outlined in this policy, but may exclude an animal from campus if it causes disruption, threatens the health or safety of others or otherwise fails to meet the criteria set forth in this policy.

Service Animals

Tufts welcomes the presence of service animals on campus.  A service animal is any dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks to accommodate an individual with a disability.

Service animals are permitted to be anywhere on campus that the animal’s handler is permitted to be, including indoor spaces, however, there may be some locations and activities where animals (including service animals) are not permitted for health and safety reasons, including:

  • Research and teaching laboratories or clinics
  • Mechanical rooms/maintenance closets
  • Food service preparation areas
  • Areas where there is a danger to the service animal

Access to these and other restricted areas may be granted on a case-by-case basis by the University’s Director of Student Accessibility Services (in the case of students) or the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity (in the case of employees).

Individuals who anticipate bringing a service animal to campus regularly are encouraged to notify Student Accessibility Services (in the case of students) or the Office of Equal Opportunity (in the case of employees) to ensure appropriate access and use of University facilities.

Assistance Animals

Tufts welcomes the presence of approved assistance animals as a reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities who reside in University housing.  An assistance animal is any animal that is specifically designated by a qualified health care provider as necessary in order to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy his or her dwelling unit.  Occasionally, assistance animals may also be brought to a central location on campus for the purpose of providing comfort to others, such as during exam time.

Individuals seeking approval of an assistance animal to reside with them in University housing on the Medford/Somerville campus or who are enrolled in the Tufts University School of the Museum of Fine Arts (SMFA) and reside in University housing on the Boston campus must make a request for reasonable accommodation with the Student Accessibility Services Office.

All other individuals seeking approval of an assistance animal to reside with them in University housing must make a request for reasonable accommodation with the Office of Equal Opportunity.


A pet is any animal that is not trained or used as a service or assistance animal, but instead kept for ordinary recreation and companionship.

Pets are welcome to use public outdoor spaces on campus, subject to certain restrictions including the athletic fields on the Medford/Somerville campus and the grounds at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton.  Where pets are permitted on campus, owners/handlers are expected to clean up after their animals.  Pets visiting campus must be kept on a leash or under verbal control at all times and may not be left unattended or tied to any objects.  All damages caused by an animal are the responsibility of the owner/handler.

To maintain safety and avoid disruption, pets are not allowed inside indoor spaces owned or controlled by the University.

Responsibilities of Animal Owners/Handlers

Owners/handlers must comply with the following provisions regarding the behavior and care of animals on campus:

  • Dangerous, poisonous or illegal animals are not permitted.
  • The behavior, noise, odor, and waste of the animal must not exceed reasonable standards and these factors must not create an unreasonable disruption for community members (including staff, faculty, students and/or residents).
  • The animal must be vaccinated in accordance with local law and meet all other licensing requirements.
  • The animal must be in good health and maintain good hygiene. If fleas, ticks or other pests are detected, the owner/handler will be billed for the required pest treatment.
  • From time to time, the University may use pesticides, pest control devices, de-icing materials, cleaning supplies, and other materials for the maintenance and operation of University facilities. The University is not responsible for any harm to animals on campus caused by such materials.
  • The owner/handler of a service animal is encouraged to voluntarily register the animal with SAS or OEO. The owner/handler of an approved assistance animal is required to register the animal with SAS or OEO.  The University may provide registered animals with identification tags to display while on campus.
  • The owner/handler is financially responsible for the animal, including for any bodily injury or property damage caused by the animal.


The owner/handler is responsible for assuring that the animal does not unduly interfere or adversely affect the routine activities of others. If the University determines that the animal threatens the health, safety, or property of anyone in the Tufts community, or that the approved animal is adversely affecting the University’s programs and activities, Tufts will take appropriate measures, up to and including a determination that the approved animal may no longer be permitted on campus.  If a service or assistance animal is banned from University property, the individual with a disability will have the right to engage in an interactive process with the University to determine if effective participation can occur with other appropriate accommodations.  The University is committed to engaging in an interactive process with individuals with disabilities to ensure reasonable accommodation.


This policy does not apply to animals used in approved University research.

This policy does not apply to animals used for teaching purposes in classes on campus, based on approved faculty requests for such use.  Non-research animals used in classes should be approved by the department chair, dean and Risk Manager, as appropriate.

The University may impose additional restrictions on the presence of animals in certain locations or at particular events.

Questions and Contact Information

Student Accessibility Services (for undergraduate students on the Medford/Somerville campus and at the SMFA) may be reached by e-mail at:, or by phone at: 617-627-4539.

The Office of Equal Opportunity (for employees and graduate students) may be reached by e-mail at:, or by phone at: 617-627-3298.

Compliance Training and Tracking

Not applicable

Approval Entity(ies)

Office of University Counsel

Approval Date


Effective Date


Executive Sponsor(s)

Mary R. Jeka, Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Responsible Office(s)

Office of Equal Opportunity

Office of Student Accessibility Services

Office of Residential Life and Learning

Office of the Dean, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine


The University reserves the right to change this policy from time to time. Proposed changes will normally be developed by those responsible for the policy with appropriate stakeholders. The approval entities have sole authority to approve changes to this policy.

Review Cycle


Related Policies

Not applicable