Trinity’s Pet Hall project is discontinuing at the end of this semester. Wanda Olson, associate director of Residential Life, considers the Pet Hall program a success, despite its discontinuation.
“I would consider the existence of the pet hall in South [Hall] this past year a success,” Olson said. “As a pilot program, the numbers of students participating were small. That helped our office monitor and assess the program during its first year. We received positive feedback from students. They enjoyed it and felt comforted by having their family pet with them on campus,”
Despite this success, students like Morgan Block, a sophomore currently living in the hall, expressed complaints.
“There’s so many problems with South in general, and I guess in their minds they figured it’s not the best dorm, so let’s put pets in here so that they can’t mess it up,” Block said. “I feel like they weren’t thinking about the pets in that way. My cat ended up getting sick in South. These are domesticated animals required to weigh under 30 pounds, so the immune system of an animal is significantly less strong,”
Block’s cat suffered from acute kidney failure, possibly due to toxins in his dorm room environment.
“My cat got sick one day last semester, and the vet didn’t know what was wrong, but I took him home for the break and he got better and was fine. I brought him back this semester and in February he started losing a lot of weight and stopped eating. After two days of me trying to get him to eat, I took him to the vet and he was hospitalized immediately. They ran a bunch of tests and determined that he had kidney failure. So they said that they were going to treat him, and if he responded, that meant that it was acute and caused by something in the environment. So he does respond, and they determined that it was acute and after running through a bunch of different factors that could have caused it seemed that most likely it was the mold present in the room. It was the environment, and that’s concerning to me,” Block said.
Block believes her cat’s health problems were a direct result of the conditions of living in South.
“My room leaks. The windows themselves leak, and everytime it rains water comes in. I assumed that after such a rigorous process to get into the pet hall, they would provide an environment safe for animals. The windowsills are legitimately rusted through and you can see the mold in the rust, and the carpet smells from all the water. Cats lick things, and when those toxins build up in their immune systems it can make them sick,” Block said.
First year Christian Correll had expressed interest in living in the pet hall but has since decided against it.
“I was really interested in living there as a sophomore, but after hearing all of this I think maybe it’s for the best. I think I’ll hold out till I’m a junior and wait for City Vista,” Correll said.
The pet hall is being discontinued not for the challenges associated with running it, but because other campus changes prevent its future growth.
“There were faculty and staff that had concerns for the well-being of the pets, and that was a challenge, but this year with the acquisition of City Vista, we felt that we couldn’t devote adequate time to grow the Pet Hall program.”‹ The hall will return to business as usual, though single rooms in South Hall were offered for the fall. Unfortunately, those who lived in the pet hall this year will not be able to keep their pets on campus,” Olson said.