Pet Policy

Effective July 1, 2018

Bennington College appreciates the special nature of the owner-pet relationship. However, the College is a workplace and residence for many, and, as such, the welfare of the entire community must be considered paramount. The College’s pet policy recognizes that animals have the potential to impose on the safety, health, personal well being, and comfort of College employees and residents, as well as the sanitation, housekeeping, and physical condition of the campus. The College’s pet policy consists of two components: (1) Pilot Policy: Dogs in the Workplace, and (2) Other Pets in the Workplace.

1. Dogs in the Workplace

This pilot program begins on July 1, 2018 and ends on June 30, 2019. During the FY19 academic year, the College will determine the merits of the program, including community compliance with the policy tenants, to determine the outcome of the pilot program.

The College has established this pilot program that will allow opportunities for employees to bring a dog into the workplace. Faculty and staff with private offices or faculty and staff who share an office may bring a dog to work during business hours so long as they comply with all requirements set forth in this policy. There will be select days during the academic year when dogs will not be permitted in the workplace; days include, but are not limited to, Plan Days, BenningtonWorks, Board meetings, Convocation, Family/Alumni Weekend, Commencement Weekend, days when Buildings & Grounds must access an office for maintenance repairs and specific dates set at the discretion of a department manager. If additional College-wide days are added, employees will be notified of these days as far in advance as possible. This policy solely applies to the College’s main campus; it does not apply to any other campus facility.

Bringing a dog to the workplace is a privilege and respect for other community members is paramount. When a dog in the workplace interferes with the working or living/learning environment of the employee or another community member, the dog will no longer be allowed in the workplace. Dog owners must agree to take full responsibility and liability for their dog, must ensure that the dog does not interfere with the use of the grounds by others, and ensure that the dog remains under the control and custody of the owner or the owner’s designee at all times. Dog owners who fail to comply with all facets of this policy will lose their privilege of bringing their dog into the workplace and may incur fines/costs for select violations or damages. Policy compliance is managed by Bennington College Campus Safety.

With the exception of service animals, dogs will not be allowed in public spaces, administrative or academic areas of the College including, among others, classrooms, libraries, studios, theatres, labs, food service areas or conference/meeting rooms. Additionally, dogs will not be allowed in the following public-facing offices:

  • Buildings & Grounds
  • Campus Safety
  • Crossett Library
  • Dining Services (includes anywhere food is handled/served)
  • Health Services
  • Human Resources
  • Office of Admissions
  • Psychological Services
  • Student Life

Dog owners must exercise good judgement when bringing a dog to campus and must agree to the following:

  • Approval by the employee’s immediate supervisor. The employee’s supervisor will be responsible for vetting the initial request to have a dog in the workplace with the department members.

  • The dog must be registered with Campus Safety. Registration requirements consists of a valid dog license and proof of current shots/vaccinations. Please do not bring your dog to campus until you have been granted approval by Campus Safety.            

  • The dog must not present any health or safety concern to others in the office/building. If colleagues are uncomfortable with dogs in their general work area, or have some type of allergic/medical reaction, then the dog will not be allowed.  

  • Dogs must be on leashes at all times when not in their owner’s office.

  • Dogs may not be allowed to wander outside of the owner’s office into public areas.

  • Dogs that show any aggressive tendencies (or have a past history of biting or aggressive behavior) will not be allowed on campus.

  • Select dog breeds are prohibited by the College’s insurance carrier; contact Campus Safety for detailed information.

  • Dog owners must post a sign on their office door notifying students and co-workers and visitors that a dog is present. Signage will be available through Campus Safety.

  • In advance, dog owners must alert meeting participants that a dog will be present in their office; must provide an alternate meeting location to an individual who is uncomfortable meeting in an office with a dog present or must leave their dog home on a particular day.  

  • Employees who bring their dogs to work are wholly responsible for cleaning their offices and removing the trash; cleanliness must meet regular College standards. Buildings & Grounds staff will not perform any cleaning or trash removal regardless of whether or not the dog is in the office at the time of service. If offices are not routinely and adequately cleaned by the occupant, then the dog will no longer be allowed. If an office must be entered for maintenance or other required work, the dog owner must make arrangements to ensure the animal will not be present during the duration of work. Employees will be notified as far in advance as possible, but may receive as little as one days’ notice so owners must be prepared for alternate pet accommodations at all times.  

  • Immediately clean up after the dog, both indoors and out. Dog owners should be mindful of campus grounds, paying particular attention to ensure that the dog does not eliminate on any paved area, common grounds, walkways and the like. The dog owner is required to properly dispose of dog waste.

  • The dog owner will bear all related costs for damages attributable to the dog that require maintenance/repairs/replacements of College property/facilities and understand that the dog will not be allowed back on campus.

  • Dogs are not permitted in any college-owned vehicle.

  • The presence of the dog does not, in the supervisor’s view, interfere with the owner’s ability to perform their work duties.

  • Policy violations, owner negligence, and/or mistreatment of a pet will not be tolerated.

If any community member experiences a problem with another community member’s dog, the community member may contact the employee’s supervisor or Human Resources (staff) or Office of the Provost/Dean of the College (faculty) who will work with the employee to resolve the conflict.

The College reserves the right to revoke privileges of any employee who fails to comply with any tenants of this policy or whose dog, in the sole discretion of the College, presents as a concern to the campus community.  The College reserves the right to revise this policy at any time, with or without notice.

2. Other Pets on Campus

With exception of the ‘Pilot Policy | Dogs in the Workplace’, small fish and service animals, the College prohibits any person from bringing or keeping pets in residences or any administrative or academic buildings. Pets, including dogs, are not allowed in such facilities as classrooms, libraries, studios, food service areas, administrative or meeting spaces, or public access areas. When on campus grounds, a dog must be on a leash at all times.  Employees occupying College housing may keep common domestic pets in their residence subject to certain conditions.