I knew something like this was going to happen.

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Proud Texan's picture
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Just had an emotional run-in with our very first service animal guest.    Everything seem to go O.K. last night but this morning their unleashed, unharnessed dog took after our cat and chased her for several hundred yards.    Nothing was said at the moment because I didn't want to speak while I was upset.   This afternoon when they returned from their daily outing,  I approached them and asked them if they wouldn't mind leashing their dog so there wouldn't be a repeat of this morning incident.  I explained that the cat was our pet and important to us and that I had found the incident upsetting.  I returned to the house.

Minutes later,  the husband comes storming to the house and informs us they will NOT be joining us for breakfast and will be leaving first thing in the morning because I had insulted his wife.  INSULTED HIS WIFE?  I cooled down again and attempted to smooth the situation over but to no avail.   I told them I had meant no disrespect and it certainly wasn't my intent to insult anyone.   For reasons unfathomable to me,  he didn't care for my apology and said that they would still be leaving.  His wife seemed gracious and accepted my apology.  I even offered to not charge them for the night.   "Nope,  go head and charge it"   By God, I did.

We are still not convinced that this was a service animal especially after the way it took off after the cat.    Gee,  do you think that maybe they'll come back again sometime?

 

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Hoping that the situation is over for you now. I'm going to throw this out there, take it or leave it. I think the way you have written your policy online is aggressive and negative. It may be that the guest who came to the door looking for a fight had read it and it rankled. If you want to redo it, I would take out the parts where you say you are required by law to do this. It just screams, 'I don't want you and your animal on my property but I have no choice in the matter so be prepared!'

If you don't want to redo it, skip this message!

 

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Madeleine wrote:

Hoping that the situation is over for you now. I'm going to throw this out there, take it or leave it. I think the way you have written your policy online is aggressive and negative. It may be that the guest who came to the door looking for a fight had read it and it rankled. If you want to redo it, I would take out the parts where you say you are required by law to do this. It just screams, 'I don't want you and your animal on my property but I have no choice in the matter so be prepared!'

If you don't want to redo it, skip this message!

 

  I don't have a stated service animal policy.   Just no pets PERIOD.   I'm not sure what you mean by being aggressive and negative.

"Regretfully, we cannot accommodate pets. No exceptions. We do not accept guests who plan to leave their pets in the car during their stay. Should you arrive with a pet, you will be turned away and forfeit your full reservation. We have made special arrangements with XYZ Animal Clinic for our guests to board their pets."

Madeleine's picture
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When you first posted the thread about having to accept service animals your policy page included a statement that you were required by law to take service animals. That seems to be removed now. That's the statement I meant. Because you then went on to state that if that animal caused problems or damage the ADA stated you could make the guest pay as long as that was your stated policy for any guest.

It just seemed like a lot of anger. And that is perhaps because I was reading your opinion here as well.

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Madeleine wrote:

When you first posted the thread about having to accept service animals your policy page included a statement that you were required by law to take service animals. That seems to be removed now. That's the statement I meant. Because you then went on to state that if that animal caused problems or damage the ADA stated you could make the guest pay as long as that was your stated policy for any guest.

It just seemed like a lot of anger. And that is perhaps because I was reading your opinion here as well.

 Actually,  I was really pissed when I put that up.   We're being forced to do something that we're not comfortable with and have no recourse.   DW  encouraged me to remove the bit about Service Animals on the off chance it might encourage more like we had this weekend.    I would hope that if someone saw that we had a strong NO PETS policy that it would encourage them to look elsewhere.  

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What you don't know is how many of them did look elsewhere. If your pet policy states something about the inherent dangers of the local wildlife (to pets and small children, rather than adults) that would scare off people who rely on their dog to provide a life-saving function. Why would they want to take the chance?

(Were you ever able to determine what service the dog provided? I'm just curious about that.)

In our case I would hazard a guess that guests who need the services of the dog might want to stay someplace less 'intimate' so they don't have to deal with us and other guests in a small space.

I took ASL classes for a few years and was in contact with service animals during that time. Most of the people who had the dogs really had no use for hearing people. They preferred their own community and tolerated the rest of the world. To go to a B&B where they would be in close quarters with hearing strangers is not what they would prefer. It's one reason why I don't think we have a lot of service dogs showing up.

Then, too, there is the innkeeper who is blind. Her dog is at the inn all the time, in the kitchen and everywhere.

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Madeleine wrote:

Were you ever able to determine what service the dog provided? I'm just curious about that.

 They said it was trained to detect seizures.   I Googled that, and though there is such a service animal,  the science behind it is is somewhat questionable and yet unproven.  And seizures are an "invisible handicap"    How convenient.

The laws are going to have to change to provide the business owner some rights.   You have to have a license to drive or to carry a handgun or have a special handicap placard for your car.  Why can't there be some sort of regulation for service animals.   Those that are legit have nothing to fear.

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It does sound a tad grumpy but I see it from your side if you don't absolutely spell it out idiot style people will try and bring their pets. It always reminds me of people who say oh there were signs everywhere its people like this that make signs happen. They always think they are the exception. To be fair I did have a lady with a tiny dog (ie fit in handbag) who i allowed to bring to stay in the car never even knew it was here but if it had been a bigger dog or hot weather I would probably have said no as I don't think its fair.

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You can sell it as keep your dog on a leash as we cannot be responsible for it being eaten by a -------- fill in the blank (or we have a lot of X Y X around here who might eat your dog), we recommend that your animal is on a leash for its own safety as we understand how vital their work is please take our advice and don't jepordise its life. Sounds caring but you need to make it sound like let the animal off the leash and it will be eaten! that should slow them down!

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

You can sell it as keep your dog on a leash as we cannot be responsible for it being eaten by a -------- fill in the blank

I think in England they still lose a lot of dogs to dragons.

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trouble is here there aint anything left that does eat dogs except maybe a fox might have a go. have to think of a better excuse lOL

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

trouble is here there aint anything left that does eat dogs except maybe a fox might have a go. have to think of a better excuse lOL

You need to come to the US where we have plenty of coyote, alligators, wolves and moutain lions who dine on dogs all the time.

RIki

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i'm sorry this didn't work out for you.

i never had a service animal act out. 

i work at a church where a blind woman brings her dog.  when he is off his harness, he just lies there or sits around ... but he does like to be petted when he is off duty.  if a cat ran past him off his harness, i don't know what his reaction would be.  i just don't know.  but he's mostly always on duty so i am confused about what happened.

today there is the blessing of the animals and people are bringing their pets.  i hope the guide dog is there so i can observe his reaction to the other regular pets.  not all service dogs do their job well because they chase squirrels, etc. and have to just be pets.  and some owner/handlers don't handle the dog properly either. 

i found this site interesting ....

http://neads.org/page.aspx?pid=399

i wish you didn't 'know something like this was going to happen' ...  you didn't want to take the 'service animal' to begin with, and don't know if it was a true service animal.  now you've had a bad experience and you won't likely be feeling good about the next time. 

all i can say is that i never had a bad experience with them. 

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seashanty wrote:

i'm sorry this didn't work out for you.

i never had a service animal act out. 

i work at a church where a blind woman brings her dog.  when he is off his harness, he just lies there or sits around ... but he does like to be petted when he is off duty.  if a cat ran past him off his harness, i don't know what his reaction would be.  i just don't know.  but he's mostly always on duty so i am confused about what happened.

today there is the blessing of the animals and people are bringing their pets.  i hope the guide dog is there so i can observe his reaction to the other regular pets.  not all service dogs do their job well because they chase squirrels, etc. and have to just be pets.  and some owner/handlers don't handle the dog properly either. 

i found this site interesting ....

http://neads.org/page.aspx?pid=399

i wish you didn't 'know something like this was going to happen' ...  you didn't want to take the 'service animal' to begin with, and don't know if it was a true service animal.  now you've had a bad experience and you won't likely be feeling good about the next time. 

all i can say is that i never had a bad experience with them. 

  Well,  they left and thank goodness no surprises.   The room was left relatively neat and orderly.    There's just a faint scent of urine around the outside porch,  but that will dissipate.   I'm sure we won't see them again.   

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 I don't think a TRUE service dog would go after a cat. They are supposed to be trained.  They spent the night used your place, charge them 

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We have a phrase on our website, "Dogs with well-mannered owners are welcome at the High Mountain Lodge."

Many of our guests have commented on the phrasing. "That's so clever!" But the bottom line is, it's the truth. The dogs are not the problem; it's always the people.

We are located in a part of the country where people can't imagine not traveling with their dogs. During our busy seasons, I would estimate that at least a quarter of our listings are because we're one of the few places in the county that welcomes dogs.

In 2 & 1/2 years, we have had only one service dog that did his stuff, and that was when his maestra had a panic attack and ended up flopping about under the Steinway piano in the sitting area next to the dining room until her service animal (a Burmese Mountain Dog the size of a lumpy mattress) came over and licked her a couple of times on the face, and she settled down. 

In the Constellation of Peculiar Things that have happened to us because we're innkeepers, that certainly is in the upper echelon. But our attitude about dogs has been solidified and confirmed multiple times:

The problem is not the animal; it's the "master" of the animal. If you accept dogs, regardless of how limited that acceptance might be, then you won't be bullied by people trying to squeeze themselves into your place demanding their "rights" under the ADA and access to facilities you aren't equipped to manage. 

It's a simple strategy, really: YOU set the context and don't let your guests set it for you (i.e. bully you). Establish your policies and be prepared to apply them when guests try to bully you. Be aware of your local, regional, and state laws. And here's a little trick: find a nearby "pet ranch" or "doggie daycare" and establish a good relationship with them (we buy pet toys and pick up sacks from ours). Establish a policy that, if the dog disturbs you or your guests, dog owners must put their animal in doggie daycare. Be prepared to receive medical history faxes from guests' veterinarians, because most doggie-daycares demand them.

Really, it's a win-win situation. Charge extra for the dog (we charge $15/night for our "welcome basket with a toy, treat, and multiple pick-up sacks). Welcome all dogs (at a price and with established policies) and then the ADA service dog nazis won't be able to blackmail you.

All this talk in the thread above about "we need better laws" is just so much nonsense. You don't need the gummint behind you to establish sensible policies. Just establish policies and apply them evenly, and you'll be fine. 

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Sensible policies are the way to go. I think PT's policy is that he does not accept pets. Period. So this was the first experience with any kind of guest animal on the premises.

He has a valid point with his policy. Where he lives, like where you live, there are wild critters out there waiting for the stupid to let their yappy dog off the leash. Yum! Lunch! Delivered no less!

We all learn something with every guest interaction. In his case, perhaps, the lesson is that he will require any service animals on the premises to be leashed at all times, and make it a condition of the reservation going forth. Still not taking pets, but service animals need to be leashed. For the safety of the service animal. Put the positive spin on it!

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I feel the gummit sticks its nose in my business too much already HOWEVER it is THEIR law that is hurting us. WE have no rights in this - cannot ask what, why but must give in no matter the consequences in OUR household.

I do not have a set-up condusive to dogs and am extremely allergic to cats. People with allergies to animals are happy we have none because although many inns TAKE no pets they HAVE a pet.

So, bottom line, I just want to be able to ask for a certificate that this IS a service animal. Yes, the owner of Fifi will probably just get one or create one, but at least I will have been able to try to protect me. And I think if I can prove having that animal in my house will cause harm to me or MY family, that I should have the right to say no. As it stands now - we cannot.

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I agree.

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 Sorry, but since it was a "service animal" I pictured it chasing after your cat with owner in tow.

 

I googled on term and found this:

 

Service Animal Policy www.hopkinsmedicine.org › ... › Information for Patients and Guests A person with a service animal cannot be asked to remove the animal from the premises unless: (1)The animal is out of control and the animal's handler does ...

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Proud Texan wrote:

...but this morning their unleashed, unharnessed dog took after our cat and chased her for several hundred yards...

Doesn't seem the bahaviour of a service dog at all. They are extremely well behaved dogs.

Did you ask them why the service dog? You can't require paperwork, but you can ask the purpose of the service dog. And if the animal is disruptive, you do have a right to have the animal removed.

Sorry you had this trouble.

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Proud Texan wrote:

Just had an emotional run-in with our very first service animal guest.    Everything seem to go O.K. last night but this morning their unleashed, unharnessed dog took after our cat and chased her for several hundred yards.    Nothing was said at the moment because I didn't want to speak while I was upset.   This afternoon when they returned from their daily outing,  I approached them and asked them if they wouldn't mind leashing their dog so there wouldn't be a repeat of this morning incident.  I explained that the cat was our pet and important to us and that I had found the incident upsetting.  I returned to the house.

Minutes later,  the husband comes storming to the house and informs us they will NOT be joining us for breakfast and will be leaving first thing in the morning because I had insulted his wife.  INSULTED HIS WIFE?  I cooled down again and attempted to smooth the situation over but to no avail.   I told them I had meant no disrespect and it certainly wasn't my intent to insult anyone.   For reasons unfathomable to me,  he didn't care for my apology and said that they would still be leaving.  His wife seemed gracious and accepted my apology.  I even offered to not charge them for the night.   "Nope,  go head and charge it"   By God, I did.

We are still not convinced that this was a service animal especially after the way it took off after the cat.    Gee,  do you think that maybe they'll come back again sometime?

 

It was absolutely NOT a service animal. They are immpeccibly trained and do not chase other animals.

RIki

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What timing...today's mail has the monthly publication of our state's restaurant and lodging association. There is an article about "Conforming to Service Animal Regulations".

The article states "The ADA requires that service animals be harnessed, leashed or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal's work or the individual's disability prevents him/her from using these devices. Individuals who cannot use such devices must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective commands."

"Businesses may exclude service animals if the dog is out of control and the handler does not or cannot regain control or is not housebroken."

 

You are well within your right to enforce that their dog must be leashed or harnessed! It doesn't sound like this is a legit service animal if the husband took such an offence at your request. It's owners like these people who take advantage of business. I'm so sorry this happened to you. You did have a gut feeling that it would turn out badly, but there was nothing else you could have done. Unfortunately, all of our hands are tied when it comes to service animals.

Maybe a lesson here for all of us is that when we do get reservations for guests with service animals, that we make it very clear to the owners that their animal must be leashed or harnessed and under control at all times. Maybe with this warning, even the fakers will be more careful with their animal.

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We got a call once where the guest asked us if we could watch the dog for her while she went out. Huh? She also asked if we had a fenced yard where the dog could run around. Huh? We recommended a hotel.

The accommodations property is not responsible for anything to do with the dog.

I called the state on this one as I was concerned. They told me I do not have to provide anything for the service animal, even though we do provide a lot of perks for people traveling with dogs.

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I guess the thing to be learned from this is that you must make it clear to all pet owners up front that their pets are not allowed to run lose on the property at any time, and this applies to service animals too.

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This is why we need better laws on service animals in small bed and breakfasts.   I understand what you have gone through as I have had problems with guests with service animals as well.   I would have not problem if it was legit and the dog was sitting where it was supposed to be and not out of control.   This is a lot of stress from an innkeeper to put up with.   I'm tired of people talking advantage of small bed and breakfasts.

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Barry_Manilow wrote:

This is why we need better laws on service animals in small bed and breakfasts.   I understand what you have gone through as I have had problems with guests with service animals as well.   I would have not problem if it was legit and the dog was sitting where it was supposed to be and not out of control.   This is a lot of stress from an innkeeper to put up with.   I'm tired of people talking advantage of small bed and breakfasts.

If the dog is out of control, you have the right to ask the people to take their dog and leave. You do not have to tolerate bad behavior.

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You did nothing wrong. You have every right to expect a "service animal" to be under control at all times as it is there ONLY because it is a "service  animal". You had NOTHING to apologize for. You requested the animal to be leashed. A reasonable request on YOUR property. And just what would they have done should the dog have met up with one of your local natural inhabitants that would have smirked, "Lunchtime!" - come after you when they should have had a leash.

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Definitely NOT appropriate behavior for the dog, however, it was off the leash and therefore, if trained, 'off the job'. However, the dog should not have been off the leash if they cannot control it with voice commands. ANY DOG.

Not sure how telling them their dog was out of control is insulting. But people will think whatever they want when they're in the wrong. They should have immediately apologized to you when it happened and made sure you knew they would control the dog better.

They are totally in the wrong on this.

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