Filed under Hornet Life

‘No pet policies’ don’t stop students

  • Lily, a college tenant’s rabbit, explores her recently acquired home in Universiy Aparments, 1533 Merchant St. The complex does not allow pets in its facilities, but the owner decided to get it anyway. (Jennifer Pendarvis)

Pets are still common among college students, even though many apartments and the residences halls have rules against them.

“Pets are not permitted in any student housing with the exception of non-carnivorous fish in 10 gallon tanks or smaller” states the rules for the Singular and Trusler Halls, Towers Complex and Morse Hall dorms, although there have been students who have easily broken this rule.

Kelsie Wenger, sophomore psychology major, had a gerbil, and then a bunny, at one point in her dorm room last year.

“I didn’t really decide to get the gerbil,” Wenger said. “I just came in my room and my roommate showed me it, but we only had that for one month. Her sister came down and took it back.”

Wade Redeker, director of Residential Life, said he doesn’t suspect that many people try and hide pets in the dorms. If a resident is caught with an animal that breaks the rule then they will be asked to find another home for the animal.

“My roommate then begged me to let us get a bunny, and since I liked bunnies, we just decided to get one,” Wenger said. “I wasn’t really that scared to have the rabbit. I knew someone would just tell us to get rid of it if we got caught and nothing really bad was going to happen, so I didn’t care that much.”

Wenger said that almost everyone knew they had the bunny. She was known as “the one with the bunny.”  Once the bunny died – soon after winter break – they buried it near the woods north of campus.

Kimberlee Hurla, senior elementary education major, had a kitten in her room in the University Apartments, 1533 Merchant St., that also has a no pet policy. Her and her roommate kept it all year with very few problems.

“It was really easy to keep the cat, and we would see other cats sitting in people’s windows that aren’t supposed to have them, too,” Hurla said. “We were literally right across the hall from the office, so I’m surprised we never got in trouble. I still think they probably knew and just never said anything.”

Occasionally, Hurla and her roommate would have to take the cat on the road for 20 minutes while the apartment staff would spray their room, but it never got much more complicated owning the cat than that.

“She would climb in the windows and tear the blinds, and we ended up having to buy new ones. But after we had her for a while, we figured it out and taped down the blinds and put books in front of it so she couldn’t do that anymore,” Hurla said.

Cory Haag, who manages Haag Apartments in Emporia, has a no pet policy for all of his apartments but his apartments do comply with the Fair Housing Act, if accommodations are needed.

According to The Fair Housing Act, there are “elements of reasonable claim” for tenants to have pets, such as a person with a disability that the landlord is aware of or if the disability requires needing a pet for emotional support. The tenant must request this and provide how the requested accommodation would be helpful.

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