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Pet friendly dorms coming to Lyon: what we know so far

From the new Highlander website to the addition of computer science to Lyon’s available majors, several exciting changes are taking place on campus. Perhaps the most highly-anticipated of these changes is the unveiling of Lyon College’s new pet-friendly residence hall, which will enable students to bring a little piece of home back with them when they return to campus in the fall. Lyon will be the only college in the state of Arkansas and one of few in the country that offers students this opportunity. With the day of housing selection rapidly approaching, some students still have questions. Here is what we know so far.

For the 2018-2019 school year, twenty students will have the chance to live in one of the dorms designated as “pet-friendly.” These dorms will be located in Bryan Hall on the Quad. A drawing will be held for these spots based on the room selection forms submitted on MyLyon. In addition to the drawing, the students who manage to secure one of these spaces must also complete and submit all pet registration documents by August 1, 2018 in order to keep it for the upcoming school year. Other paperwork that must be submitted to and reviewed by the Director of Residence Life includes proof of vaccinations, proof of spaying/neutering, and a recent photo of the pet.

While all students are eligible to apply for pet-friendly housing, there are certain rules and restrictions in place for their pets. Only cats and dogs who are fully-grown, trained, and weigh less than 50 lbs. are allowed to live on campus. Dogs must be one year old and have lived with the student or their family for at least ten months; cats must be six months old and have lived with the student or their family for at least three months. Unless otherwise specified, pets outside of dorms must be kept on leashes at all times. Finally, certain breeds of dogs are excluded from Lyon’s pet policy due to Batesville city ordinances that prohibit ownership of American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and any dog directly related to or resembling one of these breeds.

Lyon will adopt several accommodations for our furry companions and their owners. Pet waste disposal stations will be set up around campus. There have been rumors around campus about the possibility of leash-free zones being established, but these have yet to be confirmed. The college will also offer obedience classes for pets and their owners to attend during the school year. A pet blessing ceremony will be held on campus by Maggie Alsup, the College Chaplain, each October.

A few students have expressed reservations about living in the new pet-friendly dorms. Most frequent among these concerns the increased price of living involved. Those who secure one of the twenty available pet-friendly spots in Bryan Hall will have to pay a $50 nonrefundable cleaning fee and a $100 refundable damage fee each semester, not to mention the $580 more per year they spend on premium housing compared to students who live in standard double rooms. Some students admit that the cost of having a pet on campus, in addition to the costs of feeding and grooming their animals, prevents them from applying.

Overall, Lyon students are eager for the pet-friendly dorms to open. Some have expressed the idea that having a pet living with them would be therapeutic amidst the chaos of exam schedules and late-night study sessions. Many are applying for the chance to live in one of the twenty available spots, even if they do not plan to bring animals of their own—the appeal of living surrounded by cats and dogs is very strong. This new pet policy is a big step for Lyon and a fun opportunity for its community.