TU’s pet policy is needlessly restrictive, outdated

13 April 2017
Nathan Hinkle, Student Writer

TU’s housing department should offer a pet deposit option that would allow pets but still protect against potential problems.

The pet policy on the University of Tulsa campus can be seen as a strict policy without a strict monitoring system. This is especially true in apartments. The current laws according to Campus Living E-guidefor apartments say that “no animals are allowed except fish in up to a 20 gallon tank.” These rules make the apartments a pet-free zone. This does not apply to service animals under the Americans With Disabilities Act and its amendments. However, residents of West Park apartments are able to apply for pets.

While these laws seem to be very strict, there is no real enforcement structure behind this claim. There is currently a $500 dollar fine if caught with a pet but without any form of enforcement, these housing codes don’t have that much value. In an attempt to better remedy this code, there are two potential options. Pets could be allowed with a fee that could go to future cleaning and maintenance or the housing department could institute a set of checks in apartments to see if people are breaking the rules.

Through the first potential housing change, people could move in pets to their apartments after paying a small fee. Without the fear of a potential fine, people could be allowed to bring their pets to campus instead of having to give them away or leave them at their original residence.

Apartments are also more spacious and spread out than other living situations so it is likely that animals would not get in the way of other residents. If the housing department is unable to act upon this code, it could be argued that the code therefore should not be in place.

However, there are reasons why the pet policy is in place. Pets can cause a series of problems such as allergies, noise and destruction. In the University apartments, one’s neighbors could be potentially allergic to any number of pets, causing them trouble if they were to come in contact with these allergens. While it is true that different apartments are not as closely connected as areas such as dormitories, the risk is there. The noise made by a barking dog could be distracting or annoying to another resident on the chance that they were able to hear it. There is also the risk that the walls and carpet inside the apartment could be damaged and need to be replaced. The pet policy could be seen as a countermeasure to any issues involved with animals.

In the future, the housing department should revamp their housing policy to include more animals allowed in apartments besides a 20 gallon tank for fish. In allowing other pets into the apartments, people are allowed to better make themselves at home. However, there should be a limit on which animals are allowed.

For example, animals that live in caged environments such as fish, gerbils and lizards should be allowed because they are the less likely to cause any sort of problem. Larger animals such as dogs and cats should be allowed under the idea that one’s potential neighbors are okay with it and it doesn’t cause any problems. This could be done through a system in which the resident with a pet must get a signature of approval from their nearest neighbors before one can bring in any large animals. People with pets would additionally be liable for any potential damage to the carpet or the walls.

The fine for having undocumented animals would still stay in place but people could pay a much smaller fee upfront. This fee allows people to bring in their pets and provides a potential reserve of money for the potential additional cleaning costs once the student leaves. In order to enforce this fine, housing could institute a monthly check of apartments which would be done by a non-student housing employee. Through this new set of codes, people are allowed to have their pets with them and people who are not fond of animals are not bothered in any way.