By Laura Bustos Martinez
The President’s Cabinet has decided that pets are not allowed in campus buildings. Some Missouri Valley College employees brought their pets to campus after vet appointments, grooming appointments, or some just to stay all day.
“I’ve never let pets on our campus,” Missouri Valley College President Bonnie Humphrey said. “We realized that the campus is not completely pet free, but we intend for it to be for a variety of reasons.”
“To keep all members of the campus safe,” Humphrey added, “so that includes the students, the faculty, the staff, visitors to our campus, and the pets themselves.”
Not everyone is comfortable around animals and others are even allergic to pets.
“You never know when someone has an allergy,” Humphrey said. “Pets have to go to the bathroom, you don’t want to step in something that somebody else didn’t pick up.”
“We’ve really tried not to have any pets for as long as I’ve been here, 15 years,” Humphrey added.
Some problems have brought the issue into attention.
“We’ve had dog fights before,” Humphrey said. “We’ve had people scared of pets.”
Animals are also not allowed at any of the sport events.
“We’ve had visitors from campus, bringing their dogs,” Humphrey said. “Probably perfectly sweet dogs, but another perfectly sweet dog and suddenly they don’t like each other.”
“It’s just a distraction,” Humphrey added. “It’s dangerous, for the pets and for the people, so we’ve just eliminated all of it.”
Megan Watts, Academic Advisor and Financial Literacy Coordinator, would occasionally bring her pet to campus because she had groomer visits.
“I live 35 minutes from here,” Watts said. “So, it was just easier.”
Watts has two dogs.
“My dogs are both trained very well,” Watts said. “As far as I know, they acted and behave well.”
Watts understands the President’s Cabinet decision.
“You have to do what you are told to do,” she said. “I understand that people aren’t dog people, so I tried to make sure my dogs don’t jump on people.”
“But, at the same time,” Watts added, “I understand why the President’s Cabinet decided that, because not everybody is a dog person or a cat person.”
The decision applies to all pets, but not to emotional support animals or service animals.
“Normally, kids want dogs or cats,” Humphrey said. “So, I will think it applies to all pets.”
“Service animals and emotional supports animals are a different situation,” Humphrey added. “If it is an emotional support pet, and all the requirements are met, that’s fine.”
Vegas, Keegan Troth’s emotional support dog, helps her with things like anxiety and depression.
“What that means is that instead of helping me to pick things up, or carry things, or other jobs that service dogs are able to do,” Troth said, “she’s with me on campus more for emotional support.”
“Basically,” Troth added, “if you try to get my dog to pick something up or go get something, she’ll just sit and stare at you. But as soon as you need a hug, she’s right there.”