Canine Rights

Holiday Inn Refuses to Allow Houston Family Fleeing Floods to Bring Dogs Inside

UPDATE 9/6/17:

An IHG Spokesperson contacted us once more to let us know that they are now requiring all their hotel brands in the areas affected by Harvey to allow pets free of charge. They made the following statement:

“Many of IHG’s brands, including Hotel Indigo®, EVEN® Hotels, Staybridge Suites® and Candlewood Suites®, and many individual Holiday Inn Express® hotels, already are pet friendly. As IHG hotels continue to shelter individuals and families displaced by Hurricane Harvey, IHG has mandated that all its branded hotels in impacted and surrounding areas welcome pets free of charge during disasters. We have and continue to communicate this requirement to all hotels.”

At a time when hundreds of thousands of families are without homes and struggling to survive in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, one Holiday Inn franchise isn’t budging on their “no-pets” policy, refusing to offer shelter to a family’s three dogs.

On Sunday evening, New Territory, Texas resident Gillian Parker got the call that a mandatory evacuation order had been issued due to rising floodwaters following Hurricane Harvey.

Gillian, her husband Phillip, their 16-year old daughter Allison, and 81-year old grandmother Sylvia packed everything they could, including the family’s three dogs, into two cars and headed for higher ground.

Hours later, after multiple roadblocks, dead-ends, and the loss of one of their vehicles to flooding, the family of seven, 4 humans and 3 dogs, finally found a hotel with an available room: The Holiday Inn Express and Suits in Katy, Texas.

Their glimmer of hope quickly turned to shock, however, when hotel management informed the family that their three rescue dogs, Arrow (a Shepherd/Lab mix), Wiggum (a Chocolate Lab/Hound mix) and Buttercup (a Yellow Lab), would not be welcomed to take refuge inside.

“It’s ridiculous and outrageous,” Gillian told PEOPLE. ‘This is an 800-year flood. Three exits down the highway, the national guard is pulling people out of their houses. And our dogs can’t come in to safety?”

With no other options, the family spent two nights at the Holiday Inn, leaving their three large dogs outside, frightened and unable to stretch their legs inside the family’s tiny Prius, forced to sit and watch the rain continue to fall all around them.

With limited food and water and no stores open in sight, the family eventually had to turn off the car, for fear of running out of gas and becoming stranded.


holiday inn

While the dogs were never alone; both Gillian and Phillip took turns staying in the car with them, even overnight, and 16-year old Allison helped walk them, helplessness eventually turned to anger.

“It’s pouring rain,” Gillian explains. “You’re soaked to the bone just getting there, and walking them is even worse. The rain felt like needles in your face. And you end up shivering in the car. It’s just… I’m just chagrined, irritated, cold, wet, tired, and exhausted.”

holiday inn

holiday inn

The family considered sneaking the dogs inside, but, concerned about losing their room and with nowhere else to go, they followed the rules.

Holiday Inn General Manager Jim Hernandez, refusing to budge on the no-pets policy despite the unique and horrific circumstances, said, “Our hotel is a not pet-friendly hotel. We do offer our guests areas where they can take their pets to be kenneled. There’s locations here down the street that are able to take their pets if they like.”

Eventually, around 8pm on Tuesday night, the hotel manager said he’d allow the dogs to come inside for one night in exchange for a pet deposit and a positive review of the hotel.

Around 3:30am on Wednesday morning, the family were able to move to the Marriott TownePlace Suites when a room became available. The entire family, including Arrow, Wiggum, and Buttercup, were welcomed inside.

The family eventually made their way to grandmother Sylvia’s house where they are all now safely sheltered.




  1. Karla F

    Sep 3, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Terrible. I won't be staying there either!

  2. Ann a

    Sep 2, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I thought the regional manager relaxes that rule during Harvey guess these people didn't get the message . ,my husband & I won't stay at a holiday inn again.

  3. John

    Sep 2, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Everyone should go in Yelp and review HolidY Inn hotels based on this story and give a 0 star review based on these stories. Get us the name of the hotel. Lets shut them down via social media.

  4. John

    Sep 2, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Not supporting Holidsy Inn or any of its properties going forward. Generally don't anyway because I have found them not to be clean but will make sure I never support after hearing this.

  5. Carrie

    Sep 1, 2017 at 6:53 am

    I always stayed at a hoilda inn. Will never again after reading this story. This family lost everything. And there furry family we not welcome. Holiday Inn u suck.

  6. Monica

    Sep 1, 2017 at 5:22 am

    I want the name and address of that place. I want the managers name I will be demanding a refund for this family

    • John

      Sep 2, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Monica … get the name and # and I will join in getting the refund for the family.

  7. Heike

    Sep 1, 2017 at 1:13 am

    Really no pets allowed even though there part of a family! these people lost everything exeped for there pets and there children and the cloths on there backs that's all they were left with turning there animals away will hurt your business in the end ! Compassion and maybe bending your rules by looking the other way because of the circumstance would have gone a long way here!

  8. Susan Maranda

    Sep 1, 2017 at 12:34 am

    Jim Hernandez .. Karma is very POWERFUL … You are lower than a Rock … You're nothing but a money loving Monster. You will get yours in the end and don't expect anyone to help you !!!

  9. Clare Pierce

    Aug 31, 2017 at 8:21 pm

    I will never stay at a Holiday. The public will have their day.

  10. Debbie

    Aug 31, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Unbelievable, inhumane treatment provided by Holiday Inn. Pets are our family. I will never stay in the Holiday Inn again. Shame on you. I admire this family for caring so much for their beloved pets. GOD Bless all of you.

    • Karen Franks

      Aug 31, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      I agree they are heartless and we will NEVER USE one of their hotels!!

      • Debs

        Sep 1, 2017 at 11:02 pm

        Agree. Heartless during Harvey

  11. PAM

    Aug 31, 2017 at 3:38 pm


    • Nancy

      Aug 31, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      You can bet I will neverify go to Holiday Inn again. They should have said that they were service dog's

      • Susan Goble

        Aug 31, 2017 at 11:23 pm

        As a service dog handler, I implore you: please don't ever tell people to break the law in that way. Pet dogs who are not trained for public access work but are put in that position under false claims of being a service dog have attacked and harried an enormous number of actual service dogs, setting them back and costing their disabled owners thousands of both hours and dollars of training.

        These people typically do not have the extra money to spend to rehab a dog that is now traumatized, not to mention they don't have the use of them while remedial training takes place, so they may be unable to continue going to work or school.

  12. Pamela Lekey

    Aug 31, 2017 at 3:29 pm

    No more Holiday Inn for me,and I'm spreading the word.

    • Kriss

      Aug 31, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      I will nevertheless again stay in a Holiday Inn again either.

  13. JA

    Aug 31, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    I am appauled and will never stay at other Holiday Inn on my travels.


      Aug 31, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Such a stressful time and we all know having your fur friend close to you keeps you calm but also them. I think in this kind of situation they could've let the dogs in with a pet deposit obviously they were prepared to pay. But wtg holiday inn you just lost a lot of business such a shame.

    • Ellen

      Aug 31, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      I just want to point out that this is not the policy of ALL Holiday Inns. My mother in law works at one in Rochester, Minnesota, and they are VERY pet-friendly. Perhaps this one is independently owned and operated. I can't believe anyone, no matter their policy, would turn away anyone or any animal under these circumstances. Just horrible!

      • christine

        Sep 6, 2017 at 9:08 pm

        hotel would not be independent or it would not be able to use holiday inns name,but goes to show how much damage one power obssesed idiot can do.

  14. gilda kaplan

    Aug 31, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    What goes around, comes around!The owners and Manager will get what they deserve. Some people must be born without a heart!
    This definitely needs to go viral so that people will not stay there and the owners get their franchise taken away for heartless and cruel behavior in an emergency situation. Kudos to the family for taking turns to sit with their faithful dogs. They should re-name the place Cruella de ville! SHAME! SHAME!

  15. Kathy

    Aug 31, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    No more holiday inn for our riding Group and us . Foreign owned?

    • John

      Sep 2, 2017 at 11:21 am

      Guessing foreign owned. Indians or Arabs. These people are clueless to how important pets are to Americans. They treat animals like scum.


    Aug 31, 2017 at 12:17 pm


  17. Nancy

    Aug 31, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Under emergency circumstances pet policy should be put aside. Nothing makes a company look worse than when they won't allow the fur members of the family some shelter and safety. Shame on holiday inn…I have a feeling that once this story goes viral, holiday inn stock will be selling really cheap.

  18. Kathryn A Baker

    Aug 31, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    SHAME ON THAT HOLIDAY INN! WHAT KIND OF IDIOT IS MANAGING THE PLACE? In circumstances like a hurricane, exceptions should be made.

  19. Tammy

    Aug 31, 2017 at 11:17 am


  20. joann

    Aug 31, 2017 at 11:06 am

    That is so sad!!!

  21. Jennifer K

    Aug 31, 2017 at 8:50 am

    I say that a few thousand emails to corporate and there heartless manager gets canned and it forces How to change their policy!

  22. Aldene Lacaria

    Aug 31, 2017 at 6:32 am

    I agree with all of you but it was not Holiday Inn corporate it was a franchise

    • Ann

      Aug 31, 2017 at 10:52 am

      It's still Holiday Inn. They sold their name and the reputation they had (past tense) built up. Are you listening HOliday Inn?


      Aug 31, 2017 at 12:19 pm


    • Melody Carranza

      Aug 31, 2017 at 2:17 pm

      True. We hold our National at Purina Farms and stay at the Holiday Inn at 6 Flags, with our dogs. They have a beautiful set up for dog owners, with a lot of exercise area.

  23. Janice Ronsonette

    Aug 31, 2017 at 5:22 am

    We tried to get t reservation at a holiday inn last week. We called before making it to make sure. Their policy was no dogs over 25 lbs. Ours weighs 40. They didn't say no dogs at all. Of course we will never stay at that hotel . They could have made the exception in this time of need. They will get their in the end.

  24. Ron Elle

    Aug 31, 2017 at 5:05 am

    I'm in Australia and I WON'T be using Holiday Inn outlets here, and I'll be bad mouthing them at every opportunity.

  25. Eva

    Aug 31, 2017 at 1:25 am

    No pet policy should of been set aside for this and other families with pets trying to find shelter from the hurricane.
    We have two dogs and three cats and live in Florida. If we have to leave my babies are coming with me and be dang a hotel that won't allow therm and shame on that hotel

  26. Dee

    Aug 31, 2017 at 1:14 am

    they should give them a bad review anyway. I would write a letter to the district GM. They should be ashamed of themselves!

  27. Kaye

    Aug 30, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    I too am appalled to see this happen, I hope the CEO reads these comments and fires that jerk.

  28. ShellyP

    Aug 30, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    Bet the manager will be looking for a job real soon. Hope potential employers see this and say NOPE, not the kind of person we want representing our company. There are times when rules must be broken, and this was one of them.

  29. Barb

    Aug 30, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    If the Holiday Inn can't make an exception during a catastrophic event there aren't any woords! Shame on them!

  30. Susan Walajtys

    Aug 30, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    HolidayInn ought to fire that manager. He attempted to bribe them after abusing them, and their dogs. POS. I will avoid holiday Inn from this day forward, always. I love dogs, and hate epic floods.I just gave a recommendation for Holiday Inn to visiting guests. Never again.

  31. M

    Aug 30, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    My mother went through the exact same thing at the Holiday Inn in Wharton TX last night. They escorted her out of the hotel because she had 2 rescue cats with her. Can you please contact me? I'd like to get the word out in another article if possible. My poor mom went through hell and back to get to a safe place and they were awful to her. She had to leave at midnight to go find shelter elsewhere in flooded roads.

    • Brandy Arnold

      Aug 31, 2017 at 10:20 am

      We'll be in touch – I hope your mother and the cats are ok and able to find shelter. Thank you for reaching out!

  32. Lesley Lajoie

    Aug 30, 2017 at 9:48 pm

    Interesting manager would have bent policy IF they paid a pet deposit AND IF they gave the hotel a good review.

    • Adana Suggs

      Sep 1, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      No kidding. I found a fancy Marriott in San Antonio give and her big dog a very nice room. Better than a roach.motel for sure.

  33. Sam

    Aug 30, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    I will never stay in a holiday inn again

  34. Della Williamson

    Aug 30, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    That is sad. It is sadder that some people are afraid of animals. And the media preys on those fears THAT is the really shameful things. And most people just do not know how to think. This hotel manager must be related to the mayor of Montreal and is an animal hater.

  35. Bobby D Archangelo

    Aug 30, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Well I hope something bad happens to these people at the Holiday Inn but if not don't worry karma karma karma that dogs need somewhere to be with their family the people from The Holiday Inn karma's a b****

  36. Corinne Loewy

    Aug 30, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    the holliday inn corporation should be ashamed of themselves. All dogs are cleaner than most people and certainly better behaved. I wil never go to a holiday inn again anywhere in the world. They are closed minded and should be shot on sight. What a poor excuse for a corporation that deals with people. Dogs are our family.

  37. chaz

    Aug 30, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Holiday Inn will never have my business again.

  38. Jan

    Aug 30, 2017 at 8:40 pm

    Complain to their corporate office. It's not like this was a vacation trip. The only reason they let the pups in was for a good review. No good review

  39. L. Russell

    Aug 30, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Post the hotel name & location on all Social Media! We'll make it viral & they'll be sorry.

  40. Patricia Diss

    Aug 30, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    Doubt if I will ever stay at a Holiday Inn…I know Rules are Rules but in such a horrific situation the management should be able to make an exception…….I know where I will sleep on my next road trip…It sure will not be at a Holiday Inn even if
    were no charge……….

  41. Bee

    Aug 30, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    Way to goHoliday Inn!what better way can you make yourself look bad !! People and pets over profit in emergency situations !!!

  42. Dana

    Aug 30, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Jim Hernandez and Holiday Inn….you are both despicable. Boycott indeed!

  43. S Dian

    Aug 30, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    He should lose his job and the owners should be ashamed of themselves. How despicable and hateful can people be, especially at such a historically tragic time! I thank God that those dogs have owners who are loving, caring and RESPONSIBLE. Many prayers for their safe journey where ever they are headed, and for a safe return to their home soon.

  44. Guy Montana

    Aug 30, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Makes me wonder if that Holiday Inn gets a kickback from the kennel for recommending them since the hotel doesn't welcome the family. Does the hotel also refuse people that have bona-fide service animals such as seeing-eye dogs to stay there?

  45. Peggy

    Aug 30, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    Why did the family not make use of the locations suggested by the hotel Manager? We're they full, unsanitary, expensive? There's something missing from this story…

    • Brandy Arnold

      Aug 31, 2017 at 10:21 am

      The suggested locations made by the manager were not open or were already full.

    • Slw

      Aug 31, 2017 at 11:56 pm

      It was closed. So now way to know if it was safe. And if it was closed without someone on premises with the animals, it isn't acceptable.

  46. Tiffany

    Aug 30, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    A positive review?!?!?! Is that manager nuts?!?!?!
    I am sure the owner would have allowed the pets under
    the circumstances. It is shameful that people like this have no

  47. Joan RIVET

    Aug 30, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    I will never stay again at a Holiday Hotel! What is wrong with you people???

  48. Joan Harris

    Aug 30, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    I will boycott houday inn. SHAMEFUL

    • Nina obrien

      Aug 30, 2017 at 8:24 pm

      You are terrible people this story went viral all on face book we will tell people never come to a holiday inn never again how do you sleep at night .when this family lost everything what is wrong with you

  49. Allesi

    Aug 30, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    This Holiday Inn don't really want to know what I think these animals have feelings too they are just as scared as we are don't people understand this? Wake up do more put yourself in their shoes literally then see how you would feel knowing that you and your family including your pets which is family are feeling cold, wet alone..have a heart God is watching.

  50. Nora Perez

    Aug 30, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Shame on that manager. Karma take care of that inconsiderate pos

    • Brenda Caronna

      Sep 1, 2017 at 9:05 am

      My family used to stay at Holiday Inn!!! NEver will we stay at. Holiday Inn u just lost lots of $$$$$$!!!!!!!!

  51. JM

    Aug 30, 2017 at 12:29 pm


  52. Bugz99

    Aug 30, 2017 at 11:50 am

    Everyone should boycott this hotel!!!!! How inhumane of a human being once again proving humans are the most insensitive mammals on Earth!!!!!!!!!

    • indrani

      Aug 31, 2017 at 6:54 am

      disgusting inhuman behaviour on part of holiday inn….i am shunning all the holiday inns in INDIA right now….u souless ppl can go to hell with ur hotel bzness i just hv nothing to do with u.

      • Carol

        Sep 1, 2017 at 2:04 pm

        The best thing to do is give this hotel a zero rating and why.. this is deplorable in the event of this horrendous disaster with people dying, loss of pets and property.

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