Animal Control

I. Scope

This policy applies to all employees, students, volunteers, visitors, guests, and University contractors at all George Mason University owned and leased locations.

II. Policy Statement

Animals may not be brought into any campus building or controlled facility unless an exception in Section VII below applies. No person shall bring an animal onto campus unless the animal is leashed, caged, or under direct physical control, unless an exception in Section VII below applies.

III. Definitions

For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

A. “Leashed” means being restrained on a cord, chain, or other similar restraint, not to exceed 8 feet in length, controlled by the owner of the animal or other responsible person.

B. “Caged” means being restrained in an enclosed pen, box, or other similar container controlled by the owner or other responsible person who prevents the animal from escaping.

C. “Direct physical control” means that the owner or other responsible person is physically holding the animal in such a way that it is not likely to escape.

D. “Pet” (Domestic Animal) means an animal that is of a species that normally and customarily shares human habitat and is normally dependent on a human for food and shelter, including dog, cats and other common domestic animals.

E. “Service Animal” means any animal that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability and meets the definition of “service animal” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations.

F. “Emotional Support Animal” means any animal specifically designated by a qualified medical provider that alleviates one or more identified symptoms of an individual’s disability. An emotional support animal does not assist a person with a disability with activities or daily living and does not accompany a person with a disability at all times.

G. “Confinement” in the case of a pet shall consist of a leash or cage of sufficient strength to restrain the animal held by a person competent to govern the behavior of the pet.

IV. Responsibilities and Restrictions

A. Any animal brought on to campus must be vaccinated and/or licensed as required by state and local laws. Pets are permitted on campus in outdoor areas when properly controlled and/or confined and when their presence does not jeopardize the safety or sanitation of the University facilities or grounds or the safety of individuals on the campus. Any person who walks an animal on public areas of the campus shall be responsible for the control and behavior of the animal, as well as prompt collection and disposal of the solid waste excreted by the animal.

B. Except as provided for in Section VII below, animals may not be brought into any University building or leased facility. Each chair, dean, department head and employee is responsible for the administration of this policy and is expected to comply with its provisions.

C. Except as provided for in Section VII below, animals are not allowed to be brought to any public gathering held on campus including, but not limited to, tailgate parties, sporting events, outdoor concerts, demonstrations, exhibits, or fairs.

D. No animal shall be brought onto or permitted on any athletic field.

E. No animal shall be left unattended in any motor vehicle (running or not) parked on university property.

F. Horses shall not be ridden on any university property.

G. Any animal discovered on university property in violation of these regulations may be reported and turned over to the appropriate animal control authority.

H. Approved feeding stations and shelters shall not be located near any university building and must be approved by Director, Office of Risk Management in advance of placement. Any shelters or feeding stations that have not been approved in accordance with this policy will be removed and disposed of at the time of discovery.

V. Unsupervised Animals

A. Except as provided for in Section VII, any unsupervised or uncontrolled animal on University property may be impounded and turned over to the appropriate animal control authority.

VI. Sick, Diseased, or Dangerous Animals

A. Any dog or cat, for which no proof of current rabies vaccination (required by state and local laws) is available, which has bitten a person on University property and is subsequently trapped shall be turned over to the local animal control authorities.

B. The University reserves the right to remove or exclude any animal from University property if the presence of the animal poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.

VII. Exceptions

A. This policy does not apply to animals used by Facilities Management for pest control or used by law enforcement and emergency personnel in the exercise of their official duties.

B. This policy does not apply to animals used in research or IACUC-approved teaching protocols. Section IV.B. and Section IV.C. of this policy do not apply to Service Animals, nor to Emotional Support Animals to the extent that they are permitted on University property as a reasonable accommodation for a disability.

C. This policy does not apply to External, Internal, or Sponsored Events (as defined in University Policy 1103: Space Utilization and Scheduling) which contract to use University space, if the contract associated with the event governs the presence of animals at the event, or to animals performing in theatrical events and directly supervised by show personnel within a controlled environment.

D. Full-time administrative faculty that are provided on-campus residence as part of their employment with the university are permitted to own pets within the restrictions of their employment contract.

VIII. Dates:

A. Effective Date:

This policy is effective upon the date of signature by the Senior Vice President and Provost.

B. Date of Most Recent Review:


IX. Timetable for Review

This policy shall be reviewed every two years and revised if necessary.

X. Signatures


Senior Vice President of Administration and Finance

Provost and Executive Vice President

Date approved: July 24, 2002

Revised: October 20, 2017

Revision Approved: August 2, 2018