Skip Navigation

Animals on Campus


The Animals on Campus policy ensures the health and safety of the Stony Brook University community; preserves the integrity of the buildings and grounds; and supports a healthful educational and work environment that respects the rights of individuals. The following restrictions and requirements are established to address the issue of animals on University property, consistent with NYS codes and regulations.

  1. Animals are prohibited from all University buildings, athletic facilities, and outdoor events, unless otherwise permitted by this or other University policy.
  2. The following types of animals are permitted on University property, including University buildings, athletic facilities, and outdoor events, when necessary and appropriate:
      • Service Animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog or miniature horse that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual's disability.
      • Therapy animals for approved clinical sessions, such as through Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), or pursuant to approved policies at Stony Brook University Hospital or the Long Island State Veteran's Home.
      • Emotional Support Animals (ESA) when determined by Student Accessibility Support Center (SASC) to constitute a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability for students, or the Office of Equity and Access (OEA) for faculty/staff, in consultation with the ESA Committee.
      • Animals used by law enforcement or emergency personnel in the exercise of their official duties.
      • Animals used for research in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and other University policies, and teaching activities that are part of an approved curriculum.
      • Animals living in professional staff apartments, in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and other University policies, including the Residential Live-in Professional Staff Pet Policy and Agreement.
  3. Service animals, and other animals that are permitted to be on campus to perform a specific function, are not pets. Individuals should not interfere with the important work that they perform, by talking to them, petting them, or otherwise initiating contact with them.
  4. Any research or teaching activity involving the use of live vertebrate animals must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) prior to ordering animals and prior to commencement of the activity, and must comply with all requirements of University Policy P204.
  5. Fish in containers of ten gallons or less are allowed in non-research facilities with the approval of the department head. Larger fish tanks that have a connection to the programmatic mission of a department require approval by the Office of Administration, pending a review of other relevant policies, codes and standards.
  6. Animal exhibits (petting zoos, rides, etc.) may require an operating permit from Suffolk County Department of Health and must be pre-approved following procedure #4 listed below.
  7. Only volunteers affiliated with the SBU Cat Network may feed feral or stray cats and maintain related feeding stations and shelters, in accordance with approved guidelines.
  8. Domestic animals (any dog, cat or tamed animal intended to be a pet or companion for a person) are otherwise permitted on University grounds.
  9. Individuals who bring animals onto University property, as permitted by this policy, are responsible for the animal's behavior and care, including but not limited to:
      • Animals must be under control of a responsible person and must not be disruptive to others.
      • Animals must be on a leash, not more than six (6) feet in length, and held by a responsible person. (Note: service animals under the control of their handler may be off-leash, if the leash interferes with the service animal's work or the individual's disability prevents its use.)
      • Animals shall not be left unattended, except those that are permitted and approved to be in campus residences.
      • Cleanup of any waste products, including feces, and any damage (personal or property) caused by the animal.
      • Dogs must have a valid dog license and evidence of current rabies vaccinations.
  10.  The following activities are prohibited (except as stated above):
      • Bringing wild animals or animals that are not domesticated onto University Property.
      • Feeding wild or stray animals, including feral cats, except as outlined in #7 above.
      • Abandoning domestic animals or relocating wild animals onto University property.
      • Removal or tampering with any animal trap or other monitoring device set by EH&S, the DEC or other authorized agency.
      • Fishing, hunting, trapping, collecting or otherwise taking wild animals from University property, except as part of the SBU Cat Network approved activities.
      • Removal of dead animals from campus without approval from the Department of Environmental Health & Safety and/or University Police (note: NYS DEC or other permits may be required).


  1. Contact University Police at 333 or 632-3333 to report any medical emergency or any animal bite or attack.
  2. Report violations of this policy to your department head who should contact Labor Relations. The Building Manager and/or Environmental Health & Safety should also be notified of violations to assist with compliance.
  3. Individuals who request a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability must contact SASC (students) or OEA (staff/faculty).
  4. Individuals planning an animal exhibit must complete the Animal Exhibition Request form and send it to Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) and the Division of Laboratory Animal Resources (DLAR).

Relevant Standards, Codes, Rules, Regulations, Statutes, and Policies