Despite policy, pets still coming to campus

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William James
The Broadside

There are no pets allowed on campus, according to COCC policy. However, five percent of campus safety and security calls are pet related. (Derek Oldham)

Of all the calls Campus Public Safety and Security respond to, five percent are pet related.
The incidents involve students bringing dogs onto campus, which violates COCC policy stating that pets are not permitted, except for service dogs. There have been 46 violations this past year.
“There are no pets allowed on campus in any capacity,” said Kristina Blake, public safety officer and coordinator for COCC’s cadet program. “Service dogs that are certified are allowed but that is the only exception.”
The majority of the violations come from students who claim to have no where else to leave their dog when they come to class.
“It’s unfortunate, but also not a solution to bring the dog to campus and keep them in a car for eight hours either,” said Blake.
The policy is stated under COCC’s Parking Rules and Regulations, Juniper Hall resident guidelines, and in the Student Rights and Responsibilities.
“I think a lot of students are just not aware of the rule,” said Blake, “It has always been a policy but it has not been heavily enforced up until a couple of years ago.
“The most common violations that we see are dogs left unattended in vehicles or in the beds of trucks. Sometimes they have gotten loose and gotten aggressive toward students and staff,” said Jim Bennett, Campus Public Safety and Security coordinator, referencing one incident where a dog got loose and chased a COCC student.
Though there are often violations of this rule, citations are not usually met with frustration or resistance.
“Most of the time, the people who have brought their dogs are compliant and apologetic and wind up removing their animal from the campus,” said Bennett.
Miranda Hayes, a student at COCC who is currently studying in the MLT distance learning program, felt that the rule could be relaxed a little.
“Obviously, dogs being left in cars is totally unacceptable because that’s unsafe for the dog,” said Hayes. “I think as long as the dog is not left unattended, I don’t see any problem with dogs being on campus.”
A majority of the incidents took place in the summer and spring, according to Bennett. In the summer, dogs that are left in cars or in the bed of trucks are at risk of heat exhaustion and death.
“One of the most critical components to this policy is the welfare of the animal,” said Bennett. “Many times students are not aware of how quickly a car can heat up on the inside, even in the winter, and they don’t wind up providing the dog with enough water or whatever they might need.”
To become more cognizant of the rule, Bennett encouraged students to consult their handbook and visit the COCC website to make sure they are up to date on all the rules and regulations around COCC.
“We cannot stress enough how important it is to review the student handbook,” said Bennett.

(Contact: wjames@cocc.edu)

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