Pet Policy

Established: June, 2014
Date Last Revised: September, 2014
Approved by: Officers
Responsible Office: Dean of Students Office
Responsible Senior Staff Member: Dean of Students or designee


The college has established the following policy to provide for the health and safety of Mount Holyoke College students, faculty, staff and visitors; for the protection and enjoyment of the College's property; and for the responsible management and operation of the College.

A reasonable pet policy, focused on owner responsibility, supports the quality of campus life inside and outside of buildings while minimizing the use of resources on avoidable cleanup and repairs. Beyond the obvious concerns for property maintenance and personal welfare, it is hoped that these regulations will foster an atmosphere where all can enjoy the College's facilities in a comfortable and relaxed setting.

The College's properties are private. The pet policy is consistent with Massachusetts law, which holds that a dog's owner is responsible for the behavior of the dog.


This policy applies to all persons on the college campus or on college programs and all animals, subject to policy exceptions.


Inside buildings

Pets are not allowed inside College buildings, including student housing.

This prohibition does not apply to:

  • Service animals accompanied by their owner or handler, subject to the college’s Service Animal Policy
  • Support or assistance animals permitted in student housing as an accommodation for a disability
  • Trained Therapy animals that are providing therapy services for students in approved offices, e.g., AccessAbility Services or Counseling Services
  • Animals brought to campus for approved, college sponsored events e.g., “Pet-a-Pet”
  • Rental housing in which pets are permitted by the terms of the lease or rental agreement
  • Research animals
  • Working animals owned by the college
  • Horses stabled or in other equestrian facilities owned by the college.

Outside of buildings

The following rules apply to the College property outside of buildings.

  1. Pets must be leashed and under control at all times. Pets may not be tied up and left alone outside buildings or elsewhere on college grounds.
  2. Pets are not allowed on the athletic fields or in gardens at any time, even if leashed.
  3. Persons with pets must have the means to remove any pet waste (fecal matter) and must pick up and properly dispose of any pet waste left by the pet on Mount Holyoke property.
  4. Persons with pets must immediately cleanup or repair any incidental damage caused by the pet (including digging damage). Cleanup or repairs should be thorough enough so that no work is created for College staff or inconvenience is caused for members of the College community or visitors. If the damage cannot be cleaned up or repaired by the person in control of the pet at the time the damage is caused, the damage should be reported immediately to Public Safety and Service.
  5. Pets are not permitted in any college-owned vehicle. This prohibition does not apply to service animals accompanied by their owner or handler, subject to the College’s Service Animal Policy.

Financial responsibility

A person who has a pet on campus (including in College Housing) is financially responsible for property damage caused by his or her animal such as the cost of repairs, replacement or cleaning of facilities or furnishings and for any injury caused to other persons by the animal.

Policy Violations

Supervisors and Public Safety and Service will handle violations of this policy using a system of progressive corrective measures. College employees who observe policy violations are encouraged to inform individuals of the policy and inform Public Safety and Service if necessary.

In the case of an employee, the individual’s supervisor will give the violator a verbal warning that will remind them of the rules and their specific violation. If the violation continues, the person's supervisor may give the violator a written warning that will inform them of the seriousness of the infraction. A written warning may also be given if an owner refuses to clean upor be responsible forincidental damage.

In the case of non-employees, Public Safety and Service will give a verbal warning and notification of the policy. The pet and the pet’s owner may be excluded from campus.

Incident Reporting

Incidents of animal bites should be reported to Public Safety and Service within 24 hours. The incidents will be investigated on an individual basis by a Public Safety officer following state and college guidelines.

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