SIMONE VIRZI — News Writer
After several debates, it has officially been decided: Southern is going to allow man’s best friend on campus.
“I am pleased to announce, beginning next fall, dogs will be permitted in dorm rooms and in classrooms,” said Mary Papazian, president of the university. “As a dog lover myself, I am eager to see the positive impact dogs will have on students, as well as faculty and staff members.”
The decision comes after Critters for Co-eds, Southern’s pro-animal club, who proposed the idea the last two years, she said.
“This is definitely one big step for man-kind and dogs alike,” said Kate Cherrie, vice president of Critters for Co-eds.
Currently a sophomore, Cherrie said she is excited to bring her pug, Martin, next semester to New Haven.
“I live in West Hartford—it’s a long drive, so I go home once a month, if that,” she said, “so I don’t get to see Martin often, which is hard. He’s like my baby.”
There are several stipulations to the new rule, including dogs will have to be at least six months old and have to be properly trained before they are allowed on campus. Dogs will be required to be on a leash or in a dog carrier or purse at all times. Owners must clean up and pick up after their dog, especially after the pet has gone to the bathroom outdoors on campus.
Dogs will be allowed everywhere on campus, with the exception of the food court in the Adanti Student Center.
“As much as I love dogs, it would be too much commotion to have 20 canines in line with their owners at Dunkin’ Donuts or Mondo Subs,” said Danny Dawkins, resident district manager of Chartwells. “Those two locations in particular are already chaotic with just students.”
He also said the university is working with Chartwells to have dog food and treats available for purchase.
Students living on campus will also be required to keep the dog in a closed cage every night to avoid “curious paws from wandering around and getting their nose in trouble,” said Papazian.
According to Papazian, students living on campus next fall who are allergic to dogs can request to live in a dog-free room. The University has not currently set a limit to how many dogs can be in a room, but each student can only have one dog on campus. All students—both residents and commuters—will also be required to have collars on their dogs, and will have to register their dog within the first week of campus at the police station.
“If we see a dog without a collar, we’re going to pick him up,” said Chief Police Joseph Dooley. “We can’t have a bunch of dogs running around campus without their owners.”
He also said during the summer, the police station will be renovated to accommodate the dogs.
“Yes, we’re going to be adding a puppy pound,” Dooley said. “That way, if we pick up a dog, we have a place to put them until the owner claims them. However, unlike a typical town pound, we won’t shoot any strays.”
The Fitness Center is also considering adjusting the classes they offer to make them dog friendly, Jessica Scibek said, coordinator of the Fitness Center.
“We would like to have a Doga class, which is like yoga, but with dogs,” she said. “I’ve read about it before, and I think it would be a fun addition at the Fitness Center—we currently only offer regular yoga.”
Junior Senami Lijofi said she is not allergic to dogs, but she was upset after hearing dogs will be allowed on campus next semester.
“This is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous,” she said. “I can’t stand dogs to begin with—they’re not cute; I’m sorry but they aren’t.”
Lijofi said the campus is dirty enough without dogs; this will only make matters worse.
“If there’s a bunch of dogs running around, who’s going to clean up after them?” she said. “Half the time, students can’t pick up after themselves, let alone a pet!”
Cherrie said Critters for Co-eds will be working next on getting hamsters and cats permitted on campus as well, although cats may be more difficult.
“Cats aren’t usually on leashes, so it will be harder to get them approved,” she said. “I’m more of a dog person anyway, but we’re fighters for all of our furry friends.”