Certain types of animals are not allowed in dorms because dorms are sets of small single rooms, not individual houses and cause sanitary issues in the dorms according to the Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residential Life.
Kent Drake-Deese said that service animals are allowed as well as fish, but that is all. “Fish are allowed because they are contained. They don’t get out or go anywhere. They can’t get out and swim down the hall or cause damage…There really isn’t enough space for the animal and students to live in a single dorm room,” he said, “Adding a pet to the tight living quarters could cause problems for roommates.”
Drake-Deese also said that cleanliness is a big issue with pets and not everyone knows how to take care of an animal. There are issues with some pets infesting a room with fleas, with the storing the pet’s food and the disposal of pet waste. Not to mention that some students have allergies to different types of animals. Dorm rooms smell enough without pets, let alone adding the odor of pet bedding and waste.
Jake Dunkley, a sophomore and resident assistant at Keene State College, agreed with Drake-Deese, “I don’t think pets in the dorms is a good idea. There is just too much going on to worry about taking care of a pet.”
Students do try to sneak pets into the dorms according to Drake-Deese. “Plenty of cats, not that many dogs as dogs are more difficult to hide, but plenty of cats are snuck into campus apartments. We have found hamsters, gerbils, rabbits and snakes. We even had someone sneak in a python,” he said. “Keene has never allowed animals. I don’t believe there is a school in the country that does. There could be some, but not that I know of any. For many of the same reasons, there are no visitations for animals either.”
Some students still want animals but feel there should be either a process in place to allow pets or want a pet-friendly dorm.
Frank Sprague, a senior at Keene State College said, “I think people should have pets, but there should be a process to approve it. It would be really bad if your roommates didn’t know you have a pet and you just show up with one.”
Andrew Nelson, a junior at Keene State College said, “I see nothing wrong with having animals. My friend had a gecko here and it didn’t bring any harm. I do think though a special dormitory with animals would be cool.”
Drake-Deese said there is no intent on designating a dorm as pet-friendly, but if there was a strong enough desire to build one it would have to have the right concepts. He said, “It would have to be an apartment with direct outdoor access and bigger rooms. A college campus is not residential in a classical sense. If you built a building that was specifically designed as pet-friendly, then I suppose you could do it, but retrofitting that kind of program to an existing building that we have just wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t be manageable. It would be hellish from an administrative point of view.”
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