Skip to content

Animals In The Workplace

Knoxville Campus Policy – May, 2010. Revised: July 2015

OBJECTIVE: To protect the health and safety of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, campus students, employees and visitors; to maintain a professional and clean environment in which to study, work, conduct research and visit; to protect the integrity of research activities; and to promote the welfare and safety of animals.

General Policy

For reasons of liability, safety, health and sanitation, no animals of any type are allowed in any University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus owned or leased buildings with the following exceptions:

  1. Service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, for use by faculty, staff and students.  The University of Tennessee Knoxville recognizes the ability of persons with documented disabilities to utilize service animals as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act 1990 (ADA).  Faculty or staff of UTK who require a service animal should consult with the Office of Equity and Diversity.  Students who require a service animal should consult with the Office of Disability Services for accommodation. Service animals, including Human Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT) animals, are permitted only when they are working in appropriate locations or as a part of the evaluations process.
  2. Approved research animals as used in accordance with the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee ( IACUC)
  3. Animals used for undergraduate and graduate research and teaching or instructional purposes are allowed provided the animals have IACUC approval or the owner has a letter from a licensed Veterinarian attesting the animal is healthy and would pose no harm to the public.  The letter from the Veterinarian should be available upon request.
  4. Animals professionally trained for theatrical purposes and directly supervised by show personnel within a controlled environment.
  5. Animals professionally trained for search and rescue activities or law enforcement.
  6. Animals in official University approved parades on campus.
  7. Official University mascots including opposing teams.
  8. Emotional support animals in university housing that have been approved for students by the Office of Disability Services as a reasonable accommodation.

Animals on University Grounds

Animals on University grounds (not buildings) must be in the control of their owners.  Under no circumstances should animals be allowed to run loose.  Animals may not be tethered to buildings, handrails, trees, bicycle racks or other objects.  Any animal found tethered to University property or wandering loose on campus may be impounded at the owner’s expense or reported to the Campus Police.  Animals left in an unattended motor vehicle are subject to the same rules and regulations if they become a nuisance or if the welfare of the animal is threatened.  Any infractions or complaints should be directed to Campus Police.

Animals walked on campus must be kept on a leash and animal fecal matter should be removed to a proper disposal container by the animal’s owner to protect the health and safety of others.

Feral and/or stray animals (such as dogs, cats, raccoons, possums) sometimes appear on campus. If such an animal is noticed, please alert Campus Police or Grounds Management. Although it may be tempting to feed or offer care for such animals, it is in the best interest of the animals to allow an animal-related professional to find proper environments for them.  University faculty, staff and students should not feed nor shelter feral animals.

Animals in University Housing

For health reasons, pets (animals) are not permitted in the halls or on the premises. The only exceptions to this policy are:

  1. Fish in aquariums of ten gallons or less.
  2. Service animals and emotional support animals that have been approved as a reasonable accommodation by the Office of Disability Services.

Campus Or Unit Requirements

Individuals having permission as listed in the exceptions must assume the responsibility of their animal.  Individuals should:

  • Carefully consider the needs of their animals and the sensitivities of other members of the community.
  • Remain with their animal at all times.
  • Clean up after their animal.  It is not the responsibility of the housekeeping staff to vacuum hair or remove stains from carpeting resulting from animals.
  • Be responsible for any costs or consequences of damage caused.

This policy will be enforced by the department head or administrative supervisor to ensure an appropriate environment is maintained.  Abuse of this policy will be referred to the supervisor for disciplinary action.

Exceptions to the Policy

The Vice Chancellor of Finance & Administration or designee must approve any exceptions to this policy. The employee’s supervisor, department head, dean and or vice chancellor must approve the request for an exception before submitting the appeal to the Vice Chancellor of Finance & Administration.

This policy is effective 24 hours per day including holidays and weekends

Questions regarding the policy should be directed to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration 865-974-4204.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.

Report an accessibility barrier