Longwood University Emotional Support Animal (ESA) Policy

Longwood University provides reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities living in University-managed housing. Longwood University allows emotional support animals to live with students in their University-managed housing upon approval by the Accessibility Resources Office (ARO).

It is important to distinguish between service animals and emotional support animals (ESAs).

Service Animals

Service animals are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. For example, service animals may guide individuals with impaired vision, alert individuals with hearing impairments to sounds, pull a wheelchair, or fetch items used in daily living.

View Longwood University’s Service Animal Policy.

Emotional Support Animals (ESA)

An ESA is typically, but not limited to, a dog or cat, which provides a therapeutic benefit to alleviate or mitigate one or more symptoms of a mental health or psychiatric disability. The animal provides support, well-being, comfort, or a calming influence. Because ESAs are not trained to perform work or other service tasks, ESAs are not service animals and thus not entitled to the same privileges as service animals. ESAs are not permitted in any other area other than the student’s assigned living space and immediate surrounding area.

University Living Spaces

ESAs are not permitted in Longwood University's living spaces at any time prior to the owner receiving approval from the Accessibility Resources Office. The student is responsible for all costs related to any damage to persons or property created by their ESA.

Verification and Documentation

The student will be asked to provide documentation verifying the following:

  1. the student has a mental health or psychiatric disability
  2. the animal is necessary to afford the student with a mental health or psychiatric disability an equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling
  3. there is a clear and identifiable relationship between the mental health or psychiatric disability and the assistance the animal provides

The student will be asked to provide documentation for the ESA verifying the following:


The animal must be immunized against diseases common to that type of animal as recommended by the American Veterinary Association. All vaccinations must be current, and proof of vaccinations required by law must be provided prior to moving the animal into University housing. Longwood University reserves the right to request updated verification at any time.

Additional Requirements for Dogs: 


Dogs must be licensed with Prince Edward County 

  • Wear a current rabies tag at all times
  • Wear a dog license tag at all times
  • Wear an owner identification tag at all times

Prince Edward County, following the Code of Virginia, requires all dogs to be licensed by the time they reach four (4) months of age.

  • Documentation showing inoculation for rabies is a prerequisite to obtaining a dog license.
  • Prince Edward County requires dogs to wear an owner identification tag at all times.
  • The Town of Farmville requires dogs to be on a leash at all times, with the owner in full control of the animal.


A letter from a veterinarian attesting to the animal’s temperament.

Timeline for Requests

Longwood University will accept and consider requests for reasonable accommodation in University housing at any time. The individual making the accommodation request should complete and provide the ESA Request Form to the Accessibility Resources Office (ARO) and the Emotional Support Animal Acknowledgement Form completed by all roommates as soon as possible before moving into University housing. However, if the accommodation request is made fewer than 60 days before the individual intends to move into University housing, the institution cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the individual’s accommodation needs during the first semester or term of occupancy. If the need for accommodation arises when an individual already resides in University housing, they should contact ARO and complete the Request Form and Acknowledgement Form as soon as possible. The institution cannot guarantee that it will be able to meet the accommodation needs during the semester or term in which the request is received.

Right to Exclude

Longwood University may exclude an ESA from assigned living space if it:

  • Poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others
  • The size of the animal is not suitable for Longwood University living spaces
  • Would cause substantial physical damage to the property of others
  • Would pose an undue financial or administrative burden
  • Results in a fundamental alteration of the University’s program(s)

Approval Process:

The following steps will comprise the process for approval under this policy:

  1. Registration with the Accessibility Resources Office (ARO) to include the following:
    1. Emotional Support Animal Request Form completed by the student requesting the accommodation and their provider (i.e., psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, nurse practitioner, medical doctor, etc.) to support a mental health or psychiatric disability
    2. Emotional Support Animal Roommate Acknowledgement Form filled out by all roommates/suitemates of the student requesting the accommodation. If the student with the approved ESA animal moves residences or if new roommates enter the residence, all new roommates must complete the roommate acknowledgment form.
    3. Vaccination information to include rabies inoculation, if applicable
    4. Letter of Temperament from a veterinarian if the animal that is being requested is a dog
    5. A current picture of the ESA
  2. Meet with Accessibility Resources Office to review documentation received describing the need for the emotional support animal
  3. If approved, review and sign the University’s Emotional Support Animal Agreement

*Longwood University reserves the right to update the ESA Policy at any time*