A: There are some places where pets, even ones as adorable as us, just aren't allowed. There are many apartments where pets are not allowed, for example, and if you get caught, the landlord is "entitled to act upon the consequences laid out in your lease – so if your lease states that your landlord can evict you, keep the entire security deposit, charge you for property damages, and hold you responsible for covering rent for the remainder of the lease, guess what? You have to pay up AND move out."
The situation in dorms is pretty similar to regular apartments, but even worse in many ways. According to an article in the GW Hatchet, students with pets in dorms have to worry about surprise visits from Facility Services, and usually have one day to give the animal to a friend or family member if they get caught. Articles from NYU Local and The Harvard Crimson point out some other considerations:
- College students tend not to have a lot of money. Can you afford a guinea pig on a student budget?
- Some dorms have security guards at the building door, and/or have security officers patrolling the hallways. Are you prepared to sneak in your guinea pigs (as well as their cage and other supplies)?
- In addition to room checks, you'll also have to worry about loose-lipped neighbors and visitors snitching on you. And, unless you have your own room, you'll probably have a dorm roommate. Are you being assigned someone randomly? If so, how do you know this person will be okay with living with guinea pigs?
- Even if your roommate is okay with you having guinea pigs in your dorm room, what if they turn out to be allergic?
- At NYU, pet policy violations have no assigned penalty, "Which means you’re subject to any sanctions deemed reasonable, ranging from a written referral to dismissal from housing." (Although they also say that the most likely punishment is you'll be forced to get rid of your pet, rather than being kicked out of dorms altogether. It is possible they could go for the harsher option, however.) Harvard appears to be similar.
- Colleges have long breaks built into their schedules, in which your guinea pig will still need to be cared for. Will you stick around during the breaks? Will you entrust your guinea pig into the care of someone else during the breaks (assuming you can even find someone)? Will you transport your guinea pigs back and forth every single break?
We can't tell you exactly what to do since we don't know the specifics of your situation, but we can say that you should fully consider your options to determine which one is best for the guinea pigs. Ask yourself if the care your piggies would receive back at home would be worse than being in a dorm environment where you'd have to worry about all the issues we've mentioned. If neither option looks good, perhaps you can look into a third option, like educating your parents (or whoever would be looking after the guinea pigs) on how to care for us properly, or finding a pet-friendly apartment off-campus. In the end, you should ask yourself, "What's best for the guinea pigs?"
|A good, spacious cage is important, but it's also important that we don't get evicted from it!|