Housing

Housing

Pet Policy

Background

Eckerd College is unique in allowing resident students the privilege of having their family pets live with them on campus. The future of this pet privilege rests upon the successful administration of the policy and the willingness of students to abide by, and enforce, the policy.

Purpose

The Pet Life Staff works in conjunction with the Eckerd College Organization of Students (ECOS) and the Office of Residence Life. This Council consists of students, both pet owners and non-pet owners, as well as Student Affairs staff members who have the task of administering the Pet Policy. The Council also has the power to levy fines and remove problem pets from campus. The Pet Life Staff, with the approval of the Dean of Students or his/her designee, is responsible for budgeting registration money to make improvements to this policy and the procedures dictated by it.

Glossary of Terms

What is a pet?
Cats, dogs (under 40 pounds), rabbits, ducks, large birds, ferrets and chinchillas are considered pets, and must be properly registered with the Pet Life Staff before residing on campus. Any cat or dog living on-campus must be at least one-year-old and have lived with the student or the student's family for at least ten months prior to living on-campus. The acquisition of a dog or cat (as described above), purchased or stray, while a residential student at Eckerd, is prohibited.  All pets must attend pet registration which takes place at the beginning of the Fall and Spring Semesters. Pets are only permitted in designated pet houses and areas on campus.

What is a domestic animal?
Fish, small birds, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, amphibians, sugar gliders, and reptiles are considered domestic animals and must be properly registered with the Pet Life Staff before residing on campus. Domestic animals are permitted in all complexes.

What is a visiting pet?
A visiting pet is one that has been registered through the Pet Life Staff and is allowed to visit the campus during the day, but is not permitted to stay overnight. Visiting pets must abide by the same set of policies and procedures governing residential pets. Visiting pets are only permitted in designated pet houses and areas on campus.

Pet Life Staff has the final authority to decide which pets, domestic animals, or other animals are permitted to reside or visit campus.

Pets Permitted on Campus

Domestic animals are permitted in all complexes as long as they are secured in a cage with a lid. Snakes must be less than four feet long and non-venomous. A wet aquarium should not exceed twenty gallons. A terrarium may not exceed 40 gallons. Cage size cannot exceed four feet tall or four feet wide. Each student may have an aquarium or a terrarium or a four foot cage. Students may not have more than two of these three options. These are permitted per student, not per room.

Pets are permitted only in the following designated residential houses: Darwin in Beta Complex; Beecher in Epsilon Complex; Ibsen in Delta Complex; Scott in Kappa Complex; Hubbard in Zeta Complex; Omega complex and staff housing. A maximum of two pets are permitted in each Omega suite - NO EXCEPTIONS. Pets are not allowed in non-designated pet houses.

Pets are not permitted on-campus during the summer; if a student is enrolled in summer classes, he/she must make arrangements to have the pet live off-campus. The Pet Life Staff is not on-campus during the summer to regulate the Pet Policy.

Dogs may not exceed forty pounds in weight when fully grown. Pitbulls, rotweilers, wolf breeds, any aggressive breed, or any mix containing these, are not allowed on-campus at any time.

Owners are not permitted to breed any pet or domestic animal for food or other purposes.

Exotic animals of any kind are not allowed on-campus.

Freshmen may have a pet after living on the Eckerd College campus for one semester, provided that their pet meets the requirements stated within this policy. These students must reside in a designated pet house and will be required to properly register the pet with the Pet Life Staff.

If owners are leaving campus during a break, they must take their pet home or make arrangements for the pet to stay off-campus. No pet is allowed to be left in a residence hall room/suite unattended during any break.

Number of Pets

One pet or two small domestic animals per owner is permitted on campus in any academic year.

Registration and Inoculation

All animals, whether deemed “a pet” or “a domestic,” that reside on campus must be registered with the Pet Life Staff. The registration fee will be $125.00 for cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits, ducks, large birds, chinchillas and other animals considered “pets” by the Pet Life Staff, which includes a veterinarian visit at the beginning of the Fall and Spring Semesters and mandated flea treatment for the entire year. The registration fee will be charged to the student’s account by the Housing office. There will also be a rolling registration period before and after the veterinarian visit. All pets must be registered prior to residing on campus.

Although there is not a registration fee, domestic pets will need to be registered with the Pet Life Staff. All pet registrations are valid for one scholastic year. Eckerd ID tags will be provided to the pet during registration, and the pet must wear this ID tag at all times.

Certification of all appropriate vaccinations of the pet must be presented when registering. Dogs and cats are required to be spayed or neutered, and certification that this procedure has been performed must be provided when registering. Owners also must present certification from their veterinarian that the dog or cat has been in the family for at least one year.

Day students should follow the same regulations as residential students when registering their pet with the Pet Life Staff. The student should notify Pet Life Staff where the pet will be on campus and what provisions will be made for the animal while the student is on campus or in class. Day student registration fees are $50.00.

Any pets brought to campus after the registration period ends must be pre-registered and registered within five academic days.

All pets and domestic animals must be in good health while residing on campus. The College's veterinarian can make a recommendation to the Pet Life Staff of any animal that is unfit to live on campus.

Rules of Conduct

  1. Regardless of the circumstances, the pet owner is ultimately responsible for the actions of the pet.
  2. All dogs and cats must wear their Eckerd College identification tag and a current rabies vaccination tag at all times.
  3. All pets must live with their owners.
  4. Unless approved by the Pet Life Staff, visiting pets are not allowed to stay overnight on campus.
  5. All dogs and cats must be housebroken before arriving on campus.
  6. Pets are not allowed inside academic and administration buildings, except Brown Hall. 
  7. All pets must be on a leash at all times, and your pet must be under vocal command. 
  8. Under no circumstances are pets allowed to run around outside unsupervised. Pets are not permitted in residence hall bathrooms.
  9. Pets are not permitted in the residence hall bathrooms.
  10. Owners must clean up after their pets.
  11. Facilities staff may not enter a room to make repairs or spray for bugs if a pet is inside. Pet owners should call Facilities Management to make arrangements in this case.
  12. Owner negligence or mistreatment of a pet will not be tolerated. The Pet Life Staff may refer the case to the Student Community Standards Board for conduct action.
  13. Pets attacking other animals or humans will not be tolerated. The Pet Life Staff may refer the case to the Student Community Standards Board for conduct action.
  14. Failure to remove a pet from campus will result in a fine and/or conduct action.
Failure to comply with the Pet Policy and/or requests of the Pet Life Staff, may result in a fine, conduct action, or additional action deemed necessary by the College.

Owner Responsibility

In accordance with Pinellas County Law Chapter 14, Section 14-63, dogs and cats must be on a leash or tether when outside of their owner's residence hall room. The pet owner will receive an official warning if his/her dog or cat is not a leash. On the second offense the incident will be forwarded to the Office of Community Standards for conduct action and and the Pet Life Staff will be notified. On the third offense, the pet owner will be automatically placed on pet probation and the incident will be forwarded to the Office of Community Standards. In addition, the pet owner will be asked to meet with the Pet Life Staff to discuss his/her non-compliance with the Pet Policy. If the problem persists, the owner will be asked to remove the pet from campus.

Abandonment, neglect and mistreatment of any pet by any member of Eckerd College will not be tolerated. No warnings will be issued. In the case of abuse, the pet will be removed from the situation in order to prevent contact with the person(s) responsible for the abuse. These actions will be subject to the discretion of the Pet Life Staff and possible referral to the Office of Community Standards for conduct action.

In accordance with Pinellas County Law, Chapter 14, Section 14-30, an unauthorized person directly or in-directly disposing of inappropriate food or garbage in such a manner that it attracts an animal/pet will be considered animal mistreatment.*

Questions of what is appropriate or inappropriate for a pet to eat will be determined by the Pet Life Staff and the veterinarian that is hired by Eckerd College to advise the Council and check pets during registration days.

No pet is allowed to become a nuisance to the members of the Eckerd College community. A nuisance is defined as, but is not limited to, excessive noise, physical harm to humans or other animals/pets, and destruction of property. Pet Life Staff reserve the right to deem any other act a nuisance.

The Eckerd College Policy is adopted from Pinellas County Animal Services Animal Law/Codes.

Visitors, Faculty, and Staff

A visiting pet may not stay on campus overnight without prior approval of the Pet Life Staff. Written requests must be submitted to the Pet Life Staff one week before the animal's arrival. Students are responsible for the actions of the visitor's pet.

Faculty and staff must register their pets with the Pet Life Staff in order to bring the pets to campus.

Professional staff members, who maintain permanent residence on campus, may own a registered pet in any residence apartment. These individuals are not exempt from Pet Policy regulations and are expected to follow the intent of these standards, specifically regarding pet ownership and supervision.

Appeals to the Pet Life Staff

If a pet owner wants to submit or present an appeal because his/her pet does not meet the requirements stated in the Pet Policy, he/she must do so in writing and prior to bringing the pet to campus. If the pet is on campus and needs an appeal, the appeal must be submitted within one week of notification. If the appeal is not submitted within this time it may result in pet ownership probation and may also result in conduct action as well as a $500.00 fee as the pet will be considered unregistered. In the appeal, he/she must explain why his/her pet should be allowed on campus, the following information should be submitted in writing to the Pet Life Staff:

  1. The age of the pet on the day the appeal was submitted
  2. Where the pet is currently living
  3. When and where the pet was obtained
  4. A thorough pet history, including any prior abuse, and inappropriate interactions with other animals or humans
  5. A thorough explanation of why the pet deserves an exception to the Pet Policy
  6. Plans for the pet if the appeal is not granted

Appeals to the Pet Life Staff form

Complaints

The Eckerd College Pet Council will meet as necessary to consider complaints. General meetings are open to all students, faculty, or staff that wish to address the Council. 

Each complaint will be handled on an individual basis. The severity of the offense and the discretion of the Pet Council will determine actions taken. Actions may include, but are not limited to warnings, fines, removal of the pet from campus, conduct action, and/or other acts deemed necessary by the Pet Council. Non-compliance with any Pet Council decision may result in the loss of the privilege to reside in campus pet housing.  

Please note that unless a complaint form is submitted, no action will be taken.  The Pet Life Staff reserves the right to refer any complaint to the Office of Community Standards.

Complaint Procedure

Any member of the Eckerd College community may file a confidential complaint with the Pet Life Staff on any pet. The complaint may address any form of misconduct or rule violation on the part of the pet or owner. Pet Complaint form.

The accused pet owner involved will be notified of the complaint and will be given information of when a meeting will be scheduled to discuss the alleged complaint. After the meeting, the Pet Life Staff  will deliberate and the accused pet owner will receive a written notice of the results. In cases of involving aggressive pet behavior towards another pet or human, the complainant has the right to request notification of the outcome of the complaint.

If any Eckerd student, faculty, or staff member observes a violation of the pet policy, it should be documented and the Pet Life Staff will take appropriate action. If a member of the Pet Life Staff turns in a complaint, that person will not participate in the hearing for the complaint. Please note that unless a complaint form is turned in, no action will be taken.

The Pet Life Staff reserves the right to refer any complaint to the Office of Community Standards.

Pet Owner Probation

A pet owner will be placed on pet probation, and receive written notification of such, for the following reasons, including, but not limited to:

  1. If the student misses the mandatory pet registration without making prior contact with the Pet Life Staff. The pet must be registered with the Pet Life Staff within five days of its arrival on campus.
  2. If the student misses any mandatory meetings set forth by the Pet Life Staff.
  3. Pet owners, who receive special permission from the Pet Life Staff to have a pet on campus that does not approve guidelines set forth in this policy.

The Pet Life Staff reserves the right to determine the length of probation for any pet owner.

Florida Laws

According to Florida State Laws the Eckerd College Pet Life Staff would like to include the following laws that pertain to our campus and interactions with pets and animals in the State of Florida. These laws are important to keeping pets and animals safe while they are on the Eckerd College campus. The EC Pet Life Staff would like to inform faculty, staff, and students we will report any action that takes place while on campus. The laws are as follows:

Title XLVI
CRIMES

Chapter 828
ANIMALS: CRUELTY; SALES; ANIMAL ENTERPRISE PROTECTION

828.12 Cruelty to animals.--

(1) A person who unnecessarily overloads, overdrives, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance or shelter, or unnecessarily mutilates, or kills any animal, or causes the same to be done, or carries in or upon any vehicle, or otherwise, any animal in a cruel or inhumane manner, is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.

(2) A person who intentionally commits an act to any animal which results in the cruel death, or excessive or repeated infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering, or causes the same to be done, is guilty of a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $10,000, or both.

(a) A person convicted of a violation of this subsection, where the finder of fact determines that the violation includes the knowing and intentional torture or torment of an animal that injures, mutilates, or kills the animal, shall be ordered to pay a minimum mandatory fine of $2,500 and undergo psychological counseling or complete an anger management treatment program.

(b) Any person convicted of a second or subsequent violation of this subsection shall be required to pay a minimum mandatory fine of $5,000 and serve a minimum mandatory period of incarceration of 6 months. In addition, the person shall be released only upon expiration of sentence, shall not be eligible for parole, control release, or any form of early release, and must serve 100 percent of the court-imposed sentence. Any plea of nolo contendere shall be considered a conviction for purposes of this subsection.

(3) A veterinarian licensed to practice in the state shall be held harmless from either criminal or civil liability for any decisions made or services rendered under the provisions of this section. Such a veterinarian is, therefore, under this subsection, immune from a lawsuit for his or her part in an investigation of cruelty to animals.

(4) A person who intentionally trips, fells, ropes, or lassos the legs of a horse by any means for the purpose of entertainment or sport shall be guilty of a third degree felony, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084. As used in this subsection, "trip" means any act that consists of the use of any wire, pole, stick, rope, or other apparatus to cause a horse to fall or lose its balance, and "horse" means any animal of any registered breed of the genus Equus, or any recognized hybrid thereof. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply when tripping is used:

(a) To control a horse that is posing an immediate threat to other livestock or human beings;

(b) For the purpose of identifying ownership of the horse when its ownership is unknown; or

(c) For the purpose of administering veterinary care to the horse

Title XLVI
CRIMES

Chapter 828
ANIMALS: CRUELTY; SALES; ANIMAL ENTERPRISE PROTECTION

View Entire Chapter

828.13 Confinement of animals without sufficient food, water, or exercise; abandonment of animals.--

(1) As used in this section:

(a) "Abandon" means to forsake an animal entirely or to neglect or refuse to provide or perform the legal obligations for care and support of an animal by its owner.

(b) "Owner" includes any owner, custodian, or other person in charge of an animal.

(2) Whoever:

(a) Impounds or confines any animal in any place and fails to supply the animal during such confinement with a sufficient quantity of good and wholesome food and water,

(b) Keeps any animals in any enclosure without wholesome exercise and change of air, or

(c) Abandons to die any animal that is maimed, sick, infirm, or diseased,

is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both imprisonment and a fine.

(3) Any person who is the owner or possessor, or has charge or custody, of any animal who abandons such animal to suffer injury or malnutrition or abandons any animal in a street, road, or public place without providing for the care, sustenance, protection, and shelter of such animal is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or by a fine of not more than $5,000, or by both imprisonment and a fine.

The Eckerd College Pet Policy is adopted from Florida State Law.

Hurricane Evacuations and Campus Breaks

During an evacuation of campus, all pets and domestic animals are to be removed from campus for their own safety. Pet owners must remember that during an evacuation, no one remains on campus and all power is shut down in the buildings; therefore, abandoned animals may suffer from hunger and be subjected to discomfort. There will be no exception to this rule. Registration records will be provided to the Residence Life Office, so that during Health and Safety checks, staff can confirm that these pets have been removed during the evacuation. Students found responsible for abandoning an animal will be fined and placed on pet probation. Prior to an evacuation, the Pet Life Staff will hold a mandatory meeting to provide directions from the college about evacuating and a list of shelters that accept animals during an evacuation. For these shelters you must register in advance, please contact the Council immediately for more information.

During any campus break in which the pet owner will be away from campus (Fall Break, Thanksgiving, Spring Break, Summer Break), it is expected that the pet owner will remove the animal from campus. There will be no exception to this rule, and pet owners found in non-compliance will be subjected to fines and or disciplinary action and may be placed on pet probation.

Pet Life

Pet Life

Phone: (727) 864-7538
Email: petlife@eckerd.edu

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