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February 21, 2019

La Salle University to open Philly's first dog-friendly residence hall

Universities Pets
04132018_LaSalleCampus_LU Source/La Salle University

The La Salle University campus in the Olney section of Philadelphia.

Some upperclassmen at La Salle University will soon become Philadelphia's first students to live with their dogs on a local college campus. 

The university announced Thursday that it will expand its existing Emotional Support Animal policy at St. George Hall at the start of the fall 2019 semester. Students who live there or intend to live there can now apply to have their dogs approved as on-campus pets.

“Students enjoy having animals on campus, whether it’s during our ‘Pause for Paws’ stress-buster event each semester or through our ongoing partnership with Purina,” said Dawn Soufleris, vice president of Student Affairs. “We recognize that there are mental, physical, and emotional benefits to having a pet, and are excited to provide this option to our on-campus community.”

There are some restrictions that come with the new program.

All dogs must be under 30 pounds and and fit within guidelines established by LaSalle's Division of Student Affairs and Philadelphia Dog Ordinances. Student owners must also have roommates sign attestation acknowledgements that they are aware a dog will be living in the unit.

This spring, Lock Haven University in Central Pennsylvania became the state's first public college to offer a pet-friendly residence hall. That policy allows students to bring cats, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and fish to school, as well as dogs weighing less than 40 pounds.

Other Pennsylvania colleges with pet-friendly policies at student residences include Washington & Jefferson College, since 2009, and Delaware Valley University, which began allowing some pets in the winter of 2015, excluding dogs and cats.

“Allowing students the option to bring a pet to campus provides many opportunities for self-growth,” said Alan Wendell, La Salle's assistant vice president of residence life and community development. “Owning a dog helps teach responsibility and compassion, both of which are important life skills we hope to instill in our students.”