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November 09, 2018

Lock Haven launching Pennsylvania's first pet-friendly dorm at a public university

Universities Pets
Lock Haven University pets Source/Lock Haven University

Lock Haven University will allow cats, dogs and other small pets in one of its residence halls beginning in the spring 2019 semester.

Lock Haven University in Central Pennsylvania is about to give students another roommate option at one of its residence halls.

Starting in the spring 2019 semester, students will be able to keep their pets with them in dorm rooms at the university's North Hall, making Lock Haven the first pet-friendly college in the state system of schools.

“Studies show that students who feel at home on campus are the students that thrive both socially and academically,” North Hall residence director Emmy Borst said. "Bringing a pet to campus is one way LHU hopes to enhance the student experience and attract students with an affinity for animals to enroll."

The pilot program will permit students to live with long-term pets, which the university defines as animals having been under the primary care of the resident or their family for at least three months. Pets must also be over the age of six months.

Lock Haven's pet policy will have strict guidelines about the species, breeds and sizes of animals permitted at North Hall. Cats, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, fish, guinea pigs and fish are all welcome. Dogs must be under 40 pounds with breed restrictions. Reptiles are not permitted under the policy.

Students will have to submit an application for approval and registration of their pets, who will need up-to-date veterinary records and a certificate of spay or neuter for cats and dogs.

All pets will need to be kept on a leash — including cats — and will not be permitted inside any other campus buildings. Trained residence life staff at North Hall will oversee the program, which will be available to as many as 200 students living in the dorms.

Lock Haven joins a growing list of universities that have opened select residence halls to pets, including MIT, University of Washington, University of Illinois and Caltech.

“Introducing a pet-friendly residence hall is about increasing opportunities for our students," said Lock Haven University President Robert Pignatello. "The Haven is a great place to live and learn — and allowing students to bring a beloved pet to campus will only enhance their residential experience. We look forward to welcoming students and their animal companions to campus in January."

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. In fall 2015, that college also added cats to its prohibited pets list.