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Pets on Campus Policy

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) The University seeks to protect and enhance the educational and research experiences enjoyed by its staff, students and visitors to its campuses. All persons are encouraged to be mindful of how they conduct themselves on campus so that all persons at La Trobe University can go about their work and studies in an environment that affords them the best possible outcomes. 

(2) Pet owners wishing to bring their pets to campus are expected to be mindful that their pets may constitute real or perceived health threats to others, especially in confined or closed spaces. Such threats may include (but are not limited to) diseases and parasitic risk, allergies, falls, and bites.

(3) In addition, the presence of a pet may distract or interrupt certain activities, or may create a nuisance, including the nuisance caused by pet waste or damage to property. Accordingly, all pet owners bringing pets to campus are required to comply with this policy in order to minimize risks to others and property.

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Section 2 - Scope

(4) This Policy applies across the University and to all staff and students.

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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(5) The University prohibits pets from entering built up areas and University vehicles due to:

  1. the possibility of the pet posing a risk of barking, biting, scratching, or upsetting people in the workplace who may be exposed to the animal;
  2. the possibility of the pet introducing pathogens into the workplace; poor animal toilet habits create hygiene issues;
  3. contamination in experimental areas;
  4. allergies of staff, students and visitors to certain pets;
  5. health and safety issues which result in additional cleaning;
  6. a risk of the pet interfering with work or contributing to accidents;
  7. both humans and animals being unpredictable, therefore an animal may be exposed to risks and disturbances from the campus environment and these could result in it being harmed;
  8. the campus has heavy vehicular traffic that is often obscured.

(6) However, should a pet be brought onto campus, the following applies:

  1. pets must be accompanied by their owner at all times;
  2. pets must be controlled/restrained at all times; 
  3. pets are kept away from built up areas;
  4. pets causing a nuisance or showing aggressive behaviour will be/must be removed and may be banned from campus;
  5. the pet must not be a "restricted breed dog", "dangerous dog", "menacing dog" as defined in the Domestic Animals Act 1994.


(7) The following exemptions apply:

  1. guide dogs or seeing eye dogs which are specially trained dogs that enable blind or visually impaired people to avoid obstacles/hazards and increase their independence and confidence in mobilising and accessing the community;
  2. guide dogs in training;
  3. assistance animal, which means any animal trained to perform tasks or functions that assist a person with a disability to alleviate the effects of his or her disability. This does not include companion animals;
  4. animals used to support approved research, clinical and teaching structured learning instances;
  5. animals used in theatrical performances;
  6. fish tanks in communal display areas;
  7. emergency services and law enforcement animals which are on duty (e.g. police dogs).

(8) Where an exception applies, the animal must still be controlled at all times.

Exceptional Circumstances

(9) Should an exceptional circumstance exist, the staff/student may apply in writing to allow the pet on campus/building from their Dean, Head of Department or Executive Director. Exemption must be obtained prior to the pet being allowed on campus. Examples of exceptional circumstances may include, but are not limited to rescue animals requiring care during work hours e.g. rescued from extreme bush fire. Under these circumstances the pet (animal) needs to be appropriately restrained and controlled.

Owners Obligations

(10) All pet owners bringing pets to campus are required to exercise control over their pets in order to minimize risks to others and property. Owners must:

  1. keep pets on a lead no longer than 1.5 metres at all times;
  2. ensure that pets are not tethered and left unattended on campus for any period of time;
  3. carry a bag or have other means of picking up and removing faecal waste left by their pet on campus;
  4. ensure that pets are not intentionally abandoned on campus property (abandonment of any pet is a cruel and illegal act); 
  5. ensure that pets (leashed or otherwise) are not taken into any campus building or campus transportation vehicle (Campus Shuttle, Fleet vehicles, etc.), except for: 
    1. police dogs and guide, signal, and service dogs used by people with a disability;
    2. dogs or other animals involved in authorized research; and
    3. exceptional circumstances which must be approved in advance by the Dean, Head of Department or Executive Director. 

Council Intervention

(11) Should a pet be found unrestrained and unattended on Campus, the relevant authority will be contacted and requested to remove/ detain the pet. For example, but not limited to the Local Council, local Wildlife Park or Zoo (relevant to the type of animal). Once removed and detained, it will be the pet owner’s responsibility to liaise with the relevant authority to release the pet back to the owner (at the pet owner’s expense, if any). 

Damage to Property

(12) The University will seek restitution for any animal-related damage to University property, facilities, or grounds. The repair or replacement cost of damaged property is the sole responsibility of the owner of the pet that caused the damage.

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Section 4 - Procedures


(13) Should a pet owner wish to apply for an exemption under the Policy, report a nuisance pet, breach or incident relating to pets, the following procedure applies.

Emergency or Immediate Assistance

(14) Where there is a clear and immediate danger to a person or property, contact 000 emergency services and University Security stating your location name and assistance required. Details of each campuses Security Unit contact details can be found at:

Animal Bites and Attacks

(15) Assess the casualty and location: identify any threats to your safety and to others.

(16) If it is safe to do so, remove, contain or control the animal (or other threat) to ensure that you are not placed in danger and that no further harm comes to any injured person.

(17) If it is safe to do so, assess the casualty’s condition and the need for assistance.

(18) Do not move an injured person unless they are exposed to a life-threatening situation.

(19) The following contact should be made:

  1. in an emergency, contact 000 then University Security at your campus security/emergency response or your building warden; 
  2. for minor incidents, contact University Security at your campus security/emergency response or your building warden.

(20) Remain with the casualty and administer first aid (where urgent) or seek a first aid warden as appropriate until assistance arrives.

(21) Follow the instructions of relevant emergency services personnel and campus security/emergency response personnel.

(22) After the incident has been made safe, complete and notify University Security should the pet (animal) need to be restrained.

(23) Details of each campuses Security Unit contact details can be found on the Security - Contact Us Webpage.

Report a Breach

(24) Where there is a pet or animal unattended and untethered contact University Security. Details of each campuses Security Unit contact details can be found on the Security - Contact Us Webpage.

Application for Exemption

(25) Exemptions must be obtained prior to a pet being allowed on campus.

(26) The pet owner must make a written request (eg email, letter) to their Dean, Head of Department or Executive Director providing details on:

  1. the type of pet;
  2. period of time the pet is required to be on campus;
  3. reasons for the requirement of the pet to be on campus.

(27) Authorisation from the Dean, Head of Department or Executive Director (as relevant) is not granted unless the authorised person has provided such consent in writing.

(28) A copy of such consent must be provided to University Security.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(29) For the purpose of this Policy and Procedure:

  1. Assistance animal is defined under Section 9 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
  2. Built up area includes, but is not limited to, lecture theatres, laboratories, workshops, classrooms, meeting rooms, common rooms, tea rooms, office areas, food/commercial venues, Agora (University centre), foyers or other public areas of buildings.
  3. Pet is a domestic or tamed animal kept for companionship or pleasure.