You’d think a big hotel-motel chain would know and share the rules when it comes to service dogs — even one whose inns are “individually owned and operated.”
By federal law, service dogs are allowed. No ifs, ands or buts.
But a Best Western in Baton Rouge, citing its policy prohibiting dogs, recently denied reservations to a North Carolina family whose golden retriever serves as an epilepsy alert dog to their 13-year-old son, Beau.
Chip goes everywhere with Beau, who has a rare type of epilepsy called Landau-Kleffner Syndrome. “Chip alerts us to when Beau is having a seizure,” Beau’s mother, Karen Vaughn, told KPLC.
But after Vaughn made an online reservation at a Best Western in Baton Rouge, pointing out that service dog Chip would be among their party, the motel notified her that the reservation was being refused because the inn doesn’t allow dogs.
Vaughn, who is an attorney specializing in the rights of children with special needs, said that after she raised a stink the corporate office called back, a week later, saying they would honor the reservation. She said no thanks.
Normally, we would say sue the pants off the motel’s individual owner, and sue the pants off Best Western corporate honchos, too.
But Best Western has an unusual corporate structure — one they’ve argued doesn’t comprise a profit-making corporation, but is more of a cooperative. All hotels are individually owned and operated, and Best Western, from its headquarters in Phoenix, provides only reservations, marketing, brand identity and support services.
Individual owners of Best Western inns are allowed to make their own rules — but not rules that violate federal laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A Best Western spokesman told ohmidog! that the Baton Rouge motel has been temporarily banned from representing itself as a Best Western hotel.
“Best Western International has restricted the hotel on our reservations systems and we have required the hotel to stop representing itself as a Best Western branded hotel (cover or remove all Best Western signs and logos) until its representatives attend a hearing at our corporate headquarters at which their future association with Best Western will be decided,” he said.
“Best Western International requires each independently owned and operated hotel to comply with all federal, state and local laws and standards, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We provide extensive training to ensure our hotels understand and address the needs of guests with special needs. When this matter came to our attention, we immediately provided direction to the hotel and a reservation was offered to the family.
“We deeply regret the matter and we will continue to proactively communicate ADA requirements and training to Best Western branded hotels to ensure all guests are treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”
Best Western’s website boasts about their 1,600 pet-friendly locations.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 26th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alert, americans with disabilities act, animals, baton rouge, best western, branding, cesar millan, corporate, corporation, denied, disability, dogs, epilepsy, federal, headquarters, hotels, law, lodging, louisiana, marketing, motels, pets, reservation, responsibility, service, service dogs, travel
From an Irish wolfhound named Finn to a Rottweiler named Maggie Mae, 29 dogs of various breeds are providing a different kind of security for travelers at Los Angeles International Airport.
The dogs have been comforting frazzled travelers for a year now, through a program called PUP, or Pets Unstressing Passengers.
Finn started last November, the day after a gunman opened fire at Terminal 3 and left a Transportation Security Administration officer dead, according to the Los Angeles Times
“I think after the shooting, Finn attracted attention because he represented something comforting,” owner Brian Valente said in an airport statement. “As passengers asked questions about Finn and started to pet him, I could see their bodies relax and their demeanors change.”
The one-year anniversary of the program was marked yesterday at a meeting of the L.A. Board of Airport Commissioners.
The dogs all wear bright red vests, and mingle with passengers in post-security-screening areas. The program is aimed at reducing the anxiety of travelers by letting them pet and play with the dogs.
The dogs are registered with Therapy Dogs, a national organization that supports pets that visit places such as hospitals, nursing homes and other special needs centers.
To see more of the dogs, click here.
(Photos: Los Angeles World Airports)
Posted by John Woestendiek April 22nd, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air travel, airport, calming, comfort, comfort dogs, comforting, dogs, emotional, finn, los angeles, los angeles international airport, maggie mae, nerves, pet, pets unstressing passengers, petting, program, pup, security, soothing, therapy, therapy dogs, travel, travelers
Usually it’s no big deal, but when it’s an airline making the mistakes, and they’re strictly the result of carelessness, we have to wonder a bit.
In this case, the first boo boo came when an Air Canada employee in San Francisco decided that, due to a flight delay, a dog being flown to a new adoptive home in Canada needed a potty break. When he let the Italian greyhound out of his crate, Larry escaped.
Jutta Kulic, while attending a dog show in Sacramento, had dropped Larry off at the San Francisco airport. She zip-tied the crate, and instructed the airline not to open it for any reason. Larry, who belonged to a friend of Kulic’s who died of cancer, was on his way to a new home — or so she thought.
That flight ended up being delayed, and later that night, Kulic received a call from Air Canada telling her Larry had run away.
After talking with Kulic about what had happened, CBS13 in Sacramento reached out to Air Canada (that’s what TV news people do these days, “reach out”) which generally means sending an email.
That’s when the airline made its second blunder.
The email an airline representative sent to the station, apparently accidentally, wasn’t meant for public consumption. Instead, it was an internal exchange about how to handle the media inquiry:
“I think I would just ignore, it is local news doing a story on a lost dog,” read the email from Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick. “Their entire government is shut down and about to default and this is how the US media spends its time.”
Later the airline sent another email to the station, this time with the requisite apologies and saying the incident was being investigated.
Kulic said she is afraid she’ll never see Larry, who is brown and white and two years old, again.
But the family in Canada says they’re still hoping he might be found and delivered to them.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 15th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accidents, air canada, airlines, airports, animals, canada, dog, dogs, email, government, italian greyhound, larry, loses, lost, mistakes, pets, san francisco, shut down, shutdown, transportation, travel
Vermont’s only 5-Star resort — at least in the view of Forbes — has gone dog-friendly.
Three of the 20 units at Twin Farms, most of which are freestanding cottages, will now permit dogs, at least those under 100 pounds.
Located 10 miles outside of Woodstock on the 300-acre former estate of author Sinclair Lewis, the luxury resort has long been praised by Forbes magazine, and others, including the Zagat Survey, which deemed it the nation’s best small hotel, with the best service and the best rooms.
But up until now, dogs have never been allowed.
Forbes contributor Larry Olmsted, amid much gushing about the resort’s amenities, writes that three cottages have been proclaimed dog-friendly (Woods, Meadows and Log Cabin), and that the resort now has a house dog — “Maggie, a golden retriever who as Canine Guest Service Manager will gladly lead her fellow four legged guests for a swim in the pond.”
Twin Farms offers canoeing, kayaking, fly fishing, extensive hiking trails, a fleet of bicycles, ski areas and spa treatments, a pub and Japanese bath house and, Olmsted notes, fine dining.
“… Each guest is sent a lengthy questionnaire before arriving and every meal is a work of art crafted specially for that day with carefully paired wines. All the meals wine and top shelf liquor are part of the nightly rate, even if you want bubbly and chocolate chip cookies delivered to your room at midnight. Want to go for a hike and have someone meet you on a remote hilltop with a lavish gourmet picnic hamper and wine? Done. Want to ride a bike mostly downhill ten miles to the charming town of Woodstock and then get picked up? Done. Ski lessons? Done.”
The resort touts itself as “a sanctuary of unsurpassed luxury and quiet ease” and calls itself “all inclusive” — but that’s in reference to its amenties, not its dog philosophy. Dogs who weigh 130 pounds, like my Ace, probably wouldn’t use that term.
So we won’t be giving you a first-hand report on Twin Farms — at least not until its policies change, my bank account grows, or Ace loses a bunch of weight.
(Photo: Twin Farms)
Posted by John Woestendiek September 27th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 5-star, ace, animals, dog, dog friendly, dogs, dogs allowed, forbes, inns, luxury, pets, resort, resorts, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace, twin farms, vermont, woodstock
Calling all rich fools: Two British companies have partnered up to offer your dog a spectacular luxury dog holiday.
The cost is $73,000, which we assume covers a week’s worth of boarding along with all the other perks — surfing lessons, reiki sessions, grooming, a new wardrobe, a personal chef and much more.
These, mind you, are services the dog will receive, presumably while his or her owners are on vacation somewhere else, assuming they have any money left to take one.
Behind the ridiculous gimmick are Paw Seasons, a luxury dog hotel in Bristol, England, and VeryFirstTo.com, a company specializing in luxury experiences.
It will be made available to only one dog, said VeryFirstTo.com founder Marcel Knobil.
“It’ll definitely be an individual or couple who enjoy an extravagant lifestyle. While they go off to the Caribbean they want their pet to have an equally enjoyable, extravagant stay where they are,” Knobil said. “It’s for those who enjoy the finer things in life and have a sense of humor. They have a soft spot for their dog and want them to have the best time possible.”
Highlights of the “Spectacular Luxury Dog Holiday” include chauffeured rides by the Paw Season’s hotel driver, a private suite showing dog movies on a screen, a doghouse built to replicate the one the dog has at home, local beach and countryside walks, a running session with hurdles World Champion Dai Greene, a day with author and dog behavior expert Stan Rawlinson, and a grooming at the Pet Spa at Harrods that includes aromatherapy bath and body massage.
No one has signed up yet, but Knobil told ABC News. “We’re pretty hopeful. We know it’s extravagant, but it’s a fabulous time for the dog and benefits two very good causes.”
The companies say $10,000 from the sale of the package will be split between two charities — Cancer Research U.K. and Battersea Dogs Home.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 20th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, dog, doggie, dogs, england, gimmicks, grooming, holiday, hotel, luxury, massage, paw seasons, personal chef, pet industry, pets, rich, spa, spectacular, surfing lessons, travel, uk, vacation, veryfirstto, wealth
The parents of a 10-year-old girl have been charged with endangering the welfare of a child after holiday travelers spotted the girl riding in a crate with the family dog.
Authorities received multiple calls about the girl Monday evening after she was seen in the crate, in the back of a pick-up truck on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
The girl did not appear harmed, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Abbey Carlson, 29, and Thomas Fishinger, 30, were arraigned Tuesday morning and released on their own recognizance. They are due in court June 6 for a preliminary hearing.
An eastbound motorist on the turnpike in Beaver County called state police at 7:01 p.m. to report seeing a girl in a dog cage in the bed of the pickup, troopers said. Troopers received a second call a few minutes later from another motorist near the Butler County line.
Motorists provide a license number of the pickup, state troopers said. They traced the registration and alerted officers in Millvale, where the family lives. The truck was pulled over near their home. The couple told police they were driving home from his mother’s house in Beaver County.
According to The Smoking Gun, Fishinger was arrested less than a week ago on charges of identity theft and access device fraud, but released from jail after making bail.
(Top photo, an obscured image of the girl in the crate, taken by another motorist and posted on Reddit; bottom photo, Facebook)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 29th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, caged, charged, child, crate, crated, daughter, dogs, endangering, endangerment, girl, highway, kennel, memorial day, parents, pennsylvania turnpike, pets, photos, pickup truck, transportation, travel, travelers, welfare
“Going in Circles”
On a spinning wheel
Beasts circle, musically
Posted by John Woestendiek June 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: america, animals, burlington, burlington city park, carousel, circles, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, going in circles, haiku, highway, highway haiku, merry go round, north carolina, pets, photography, poetry, road, road trip, travel, traveling with dogs, travels with ace