Animal house: UAF opens doors to pets, at a price
Heather Bryant / Sun Star Reporter
May 3, 2011
The University of Alaska Fairbanks campus is becoming a more pet-friendly campus this spring with new policies that allow a wider variety of pets on campus.
The Residence Life contract describes the new policy as a test policy that authorizes pets in campus housing beginning in the spring semester of 2011. Previously, fish were the only pets allowed to live on campus.
The new policy will allow for cats, dogs, fish and small caged animals such as hamsters, gerbils and mice to live in family, faculty and staff housing. Fish are still the only pets allowed in single-student housing such as Moore, Bartlett and Skarland.
“We thought perhaps we’d give it a try to see if students could have pets on campus,” said Kevin Huddy, former Residence Life director. Huddy was part of the original talks to institute the new rules. The new policy is part of a two- to three-year test to see if people can have pets on campus without any major problems.
However, the new privileges are coming at a cost to pet owners. There is a $300 non-refundable fee per household to register dogs or cats. The fee is meant to cover the costs of the program such as staff time for inspections and investigating complaints as well as verifying health information and implementing the registration process. There is also a $1000 refundable deposit for having a dog or cat per household in addition to the existing residence life deposits.
“Pets can be very beneficial to the lives of the students here on campus,” said student Ashley Fried. “Residence life needs to consider that students already pay high fees to live on campus and other living expenses, and that many students are only working part-time and paying for college themselves.”
Would-be pet owners must ensure their dog or cat has identification tags and immunization tags. They must provide proof of vaccinations and pets must be spayed or neutered. There is a two-pet limit. There is also a restriction for certain dog breeds. The policy states “dog breeds noted for their aggressive behavior cannot be kept without a waiver from the Director of Residence Life.” The breeds mentioned include: pit bulls, rottweilers, doberman pinschers and German shepherds.
Kate Schaefer, 25, is a master’s student working towards a degree in Geospatial Emergency Management. Her husband is a junior and a communication major. They had considered moving into campus housing but hadn’t due to the previous policies prohibiting pets.
“Fairbanks is a very pet-friendly town, yet it’s hard to find any place to live that allows pets, Schaefer said, “I’m glad UAF is finally changing that.” However, Schaefer finds the costs high. “I think perhaps instead of charging such high fees, they could focus on promoting responsible pet ownership and cleanliness.”