Animal/Pet Policy

January 4, 2019

Policy Summary

To ensure humane treatment of animals and pets, protect personal rights, and to meet sanitation requirements, the following policy is adopted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) for the possession of animals and pets on UNL property. This policy was created in conjunction with the Office of Research and Economic Development, Institutional Animal Care Program, Business & Finance, and the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance.

Policy Definitions

These definitions apply to the terms as they are used in this policy.

  • Pet – Any privately owned animal (vertebrate or invertebrate).
  • Service Animal - A Service Animal is “any dog or miniature horse that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.” See UNL Policy for the Use of Service Animal.
  • University-controlled Property - Property that is owned, operated, or maintained by the university. This does not include fraternity housing, sorority housing, and other space owned by UNL that is leased to other entities and not controlled by the university.

Policy Overview

Animals/Pets can pose a threat to the health and safety of the campus community, as well as to a healthful educational environment (through allergy, excessive noise, waste, animal bites, and disease transmission via fleas, ticks, parasites, viruses, bacteria, etc.). Individuals with disabilities are at particular risk. For instance, dogs running freely pose a particular hazard to individuals using service animals. Pets on campus can also be destructive, causing damage to grounds, buildings, and property.


Animals/Pets are not allowed in UNL-controlled buildings, including residential halls. In addition, some animals can carry and transmit diseases, especially to people that have allergies or people that are immunocompromised. The only domestic animal that students are permitted to have in UNL buildings at any time are service animals approved by the UNL Office of Equity and Compliance.

Animals are permitted on UNL grounds but must be kept confined or otherwise physically restrained.

  • Animals must be attended, under the control of the owner, and restrained at all times.
  • A dog or other animal trailing a leash that is not restrained by an individual, or an animal tied to a fixed object is not considered to be under the control of an individual.
  • Any animal found tied to a fixed object or running at large on university grounds will be impounded.
  • The owner or person in control of a dog or other animal shall promptly remove any fecal matter or solid waste deposited by the animal and provide for the proper disposal of this material.

Policy Exemptions

The following items are exceptions to the policy above:

  • Service Animals as approved by UNL Office of Equity and Compliance (See Policy for the Use of Service Animals).
    Note: For additional information regarding service animals, please contact Jill Flagel, Director of Faculty/Staff Disability Services at 402-472-2322 or at
  • Animals used for special events or demonstration as approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC). Requests for such events or demonstrations are required to be submitted to the IACUC using the Demonstration of Special Event form below one week prior to the event. The IACUC will consult with appropriate administrators regarding certain requests and approvals/denials as needed. All decisions by IACUC are final.
  • UNLPD or other law enforcement agency dogs.
  • At the discretion of the Attending Veterinarian for examinations or consultation at the IACP office.
  • UNL employees using out-state farms, ranches, or teaching facilities, may house animals as approved by the facility director.
    • All pets must have prior approval from the facility director before arriving at the residence. Use the Privately Owned Animal Registration Form below.
    • Proof of current vaccinations (e.g. rabies, distemper, bordetella) and a health certificate from a licensed veterinarian within 30 days of arrival is required.
    • The facility manager retains the right to refuse approval for any pet, or rescind approval if the pet’s behavior disrupts the community, damages the facilities, or threatens the health or safety of residents or other UNL employees.
    • All dogs and cats must be housebroken or litterbox trained before arriving at the facility.
    • At UNL farms and ranches, the following recommendations should be reviewed:
      • Vaccinations will be kept current as recommended by the UNL Attending Veterinarian.
      • A consistent program of parasite control (internal and external) must be implemented.
      • It is highly recommended that cats and dogs be spayed or neutered.
      • Dogs and cats in residence at UNL will be kept in well maintained and clean housing.

Animals/Pets in Residence Halls

University Housing has adopted a pet policy for its residential student facilities. Please refer to the pets section within the Community Living Guide.

Failure to Comply

Violation of these regulations may result in confiscation of the pet and/or administrative or disciplinary action to the owner.

Damage to UNL Property

UNL will seek restitution for any animal-related damage to university-controlled property, facilities, or grounds. The repair or replacement cost of damaged property is the sole responsibility of the owner of the animal that caused the damage.

To Report a Violation

To report a violation of this policy, contact the unit Chair/Department Head, Institutional Animal Care Program, or the Office of the UNL Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance for resolution.

Contacts and Enforcement

Subject Department Phone Number
Animal Bites and Attacks University Police 402-472-2222
Animal Care and Wellbeing, Special Events or Demonstrations Institutional Animal Care Program 402-472-4486
Damage to UNL Facilities or Grounds UNL Facilities, Management & Planning 402-472-1550
Emergencies and Other Immediate Assistance University Police 402-472-2222
IANR Out-State Facilities IANR 402-472-2871
Nuisance Complaints Regarding Unrestrained Animal on UNL Grounds University Police 402-472-2222
Questions or to Report Repeated Pet Policy Violations Unit Chair/Dept Head, Institutional Animal Care Program, or Vice Chancellor for Business and Finance (VCBF) 402 472-4455 (VCBF)
Residence Halls Policies and requirements University Housing 402-472-3561
Service Animals UNL Students with Disabilities 402-472-3787
Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance 402-472-3417
Demonstration of special event form Privately owned animal registration form