01.C.12 – Animals on University Campuses

Section: General Administration

Area: Risk Management 

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This document describes the University of Houston System's policy regarding animals on its university campuses and assigns responsibility for enforcing this policy.


2.1. The presence of animals at the university may pose a safety concern, which places the universities at risk of potential liability. Therefore, the only animals allowed on campus are the following:

2.1.1. Service Animals, in compliance with SAM 01.D.12 , Service Animals.

2.2.2. Emotional Support Animals, in compliance with SAM 01.D.11 , Emotional Support Animals.

2.1.3. Animals representing the university's mascot, such as live cougars, which are specifically authorized to be on campus by the university.

2.1.4. Research animals authorized by the university's animal care committee.

2.1.5. Animals specifically authorized to be on campus on a temporary basis for a university-sponsored event. Approval must be obtained through the university Risk Management department.

2.1.6. At universities with residential housing, a Live-In-Professional ("LIP") may have no more than two (2) dogs, two (2) cats, or a combination of dogs and cats not exceeding two (2) total animals. Approval must be obtained from the appropriate vice president or designee, along with the university Risk Management department prior to the LIP bringing the animal on campus.

2.2. The universities must establish guidelines on their campuses for enforcing this policy.


3.1. Animals must comply with any and all applicable Texas state and local laws, including but not limited to, animal license requirements, vaccination, and identification tags.

3.2. All animals brought on university grounds must be under the control of their owner or handler at all times. The animal must be restrained on a leash or harness that does not exceed six (6) feet in length or in a cage or other enclosure unless the animal is kept within an individual's university housing assignment.

3.3. An animal cannot exceed the weight limit of 30 lbs unless specifically approved by the System Risk Management department in consultation with the Office of General Counsel.

3.4. Renters' insurance is required for LIPs who have an animal living with them on campus. The renters' insurance policy must provide coverage for any injuries caused to people or property by the LIP's animals.


4.1. An animal's handler must keep the animal under control and take effective action when it is out of control.

4.2. An animal's handler must secure the animal to a leash, cord, chain, or similar direct physical control device of a maximum length of six (6) feet, the other end of which is restrained by a person. If this constraint interferes with the animal's work or if the individual's disability prevents using these devices, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective means. Physical constraint of the animal does not apply to animals while kept within an individual's university housing assignment.

4.3. Animals must not be tethered to a stationary fixture or tree, or left unattended on campus.

4.4. Animals must not be abandoned on campus. Abandonment of an animal may be considered a cruel and illegal act under Texas's anti-cruelty statutes.

4.5. An animal's handler is responsible for feeding and exercising the animal.

4.6. An animal's handler is responsible for cleaning up after the animal and disposing of its waste properly. It is the handler's responsibility to remove waste, dispose of it in an appropriate waste container, and then place that waste container in a trash receptacle outside. Litter boxes and cages must be properly maintained, and contents disposed of properly and regularly. Litter and bedding must be replaced regularly as outlined by the manufacturer. Cleanup must occur immediately, including cleaning indoor spaces and surfaces.

4.7. An animal's handler is solely responsible for paying for the costs and expenses associated with repair or replacement for any damage caused by the animal or cleaning required as a result of the animal. Any such repair, replacement, or cleaning will be conducted by the university or its designee.

4.8. Animals must not be allowed to disrupt others (e.g., barking continuously, growling, howling, etc.).

4.9. Any flea or pest infestation will be attended to promptly by a professional extermination company contracted by the university at the owner's sole cost and expense.

4.10. The university may take reasonable efforts to remove an animal confined in a vehicle when there appears to be imminent danger to the animal due to inadequate ventilation or temperature conditions. The university is not liable in any way or manner for any associated repair/damage costs to the vehicle for this action and the animal's handler assumes full responsibility.

4.11. Individuals may not hurt, maim, attack, or kill an animal.


In all cases, the handler of the animal is responsible for the animal's behavior. The university may remove or require an individual to remove an animal from campus if:

5.1. The animal is out of control and the handler fails to control it.

5.2. The animal's waste is not being properly disposed of or the animal is damaging university property.

5.3. The animal poses a threat to the health or safety of others.

5.4. The animal's handler does not provide the standard of care required by applicable Texas state and local law, including but not limited to, the failure to provide the necessary food, water, care, or shelter for an animal in the person's custody.

5.5. The animal does not have the licenses, vaccinations, and identification required by applicable Texas state and local law.



Issued: 04/07/2008
Last Reviewed/Revised: 04/02/2024
Responsible Office(s): Finance