Student opinion varies about pets on campus

Though animals are not often seen on campus, many students still appreciate the idea of allowing pets on campus.

Puppies took over Alumni Park Wednesday when USC’s Net Impact and MOVE presented “Pet a Pup for Life,” a fundraising event in which students donated money to Heifer International, a nonprofit organization devoted to ending poverty through sustainable methods.

Puppy love · Sarah McMinimy, a freshman majoring in public policy, management and planning, played with a puppy at the “Pet a Pup for Life” fundraiser Wednesday. - Ani Kolangian | Daily Trojan

Event coordinators said they raised $477 from the approximately 150 students who came. A professor pledged to donate however much the organization needed to reach its $500 goal before the event took place.

USC does allow pets to visit campus as long as they don’t enter buildings. Dogs on campus must also be leashed and picked up after, in accordance with Los Angeles sanitation requirements, according to USC’s University Policy website.

Phoebe Abraham, a sophomore majoring in public relations, said the campus landscape is moderately suitable for pet owners.

“The campus is somewhat pet-friendly,” Abraham said. “There are some grassy areas, like McCarthy Quad, that have a great stretch of land for pets to roam around in and play and just have fun.”

Undergraduate Student Government Vice President Logan Lachman said her “campaign dog,” a friend’s labrador mix named Murray, helped her and USG President Monish Tyagi connect with students on Trousdale Parkway during last semester’s elections.

“People were really excited to see the dog,” Lachman said. “It definitely helped attract people so we could talk to them about our campaign. I’m also personally a huge fan of dogs, so I’m sure having this positive image with us helped.”

Cathy Casillas, a sophomore majoring in biological sciences, said she has to keep her French bulldog at her family house in Pasadena because USC does not allow pets in university housing. She said being able to live with her pet would make her happier.

“Pets are such a great way to relieve stress,” Casillias said. “I’m not saying that everyone should have a pet because some people just can’t handle the responsibilities, but it would be nice to have the pet option.”

Ivy Habaradas, a junior majoring in music industry, lives in a non-USC apartment and owns a dog. She said she doesn’t bring her dog to campus because she’s afraid she would get in trouble if it pooped, but loves coming home to her pomeranian-poodle mix.

“When I come home tired from school, she comes running toward me,” Habaradas said. “Then I’m not tired anymore.”

Other students feel differently about the situation. Danielle Tomfohrde, a sophomore majoring in international relations, said she looked the other way when some people in her building, Fluor Tower, had a rabbit during the fall semester last year.

“It was cute in the beginning,” Tomfohrde said. “Then it peed on my sweatpants, and it was not OK anymore. A lot of people turned the other way to allow it to be there, but when you think about it, the policies USC housing has regarding pets are really reasonable and should be followed.”

Tomfohrde said she was happy to see the rabbit leave.

“I couldn’t go into the common room because there was poop all over the place and I wasn’t sure if I would step in something I didn’t want to be stepping in,” she said. “It was disgusting.”

Some students said USC doesn’t need to encourage students to bring more animals on campus in general. Francesca Martens, a junior majoring in classics, said it’s a nuanced situation.

“It would be nice,” Martens said. “But it would be a little problematic because of the noise and poop if people don’t clean up after their pets.”

Some students, however, expressed interest in having pets around campus. Ty Vestal, a senior majoring in biological sciences and psychology, said students seem to enjoy it when he walks his corgi, Leo, around campus.

“Most people love him and come up to him to pet him,” Vestal said. “But there’s definitely people who are not OK with dogs, so I keep him on a short leash when they go by.”

Having a pet can be a very rewarding experience, Vestal said.

“It’s having another companion in life,” Vestal said. “It’s great to be able to bounce love and affection off of another creature.”

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