Canine Rights

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

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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.

Holiday Inn Refuses To Allow Houston Family Fleeing Floods To Bring Dogs Inside The Dogington Post

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.

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73 Comments

73 Comments

  1. Avatar Of Karla F

    Karla F

    says:

    Terrible. I won't be staying there either!

  2. Avatar Of Ann A

    Ann a

    says:

    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. Avatar Of John

    John

    says:

    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. Avatar Of John

    John

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Carrie

    Carrie

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Monica

    Monica

    says:

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

  7. Avatar Of Heike

    Heike

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Susan Maranda

    Susan Maranda

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Clare Pierce

    Clare Pierce

    says:

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

  10. Avatar Of Debbie

    Debbie

    says:

    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.

  11. Avatar Of Pam

    PAM

    says:

    NEVER STAY AT HOLIDAY INN AGAIN…THEY SHOULD HAVE PIT HIM OUT IN THE STORM…

    • Avatar Of Nancy

      Nancy

      says:

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

      • Avatar Of Susan Goble

        Susan Goble

        says:

        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. Avatar Of Pamela Lekey

    Pamela Lekey

    says:

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

  13. Avatar Of Ja

    JA

    says:

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

    • Avatar Of Barbara

      BARBARA

      says:

      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.

    • Avatar Of Ellen

      Ellen

      says:

      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!

      • Avatar Of Christine

        christine

        says:

        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. Avatar Of Gilda Kaplan

    gilda kaplan

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Kathy

    Kathy

    says:

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

    • Avatar Of John

      John

      says:

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

  16. Avatar Of Gypsy Laura Cappello

    GYPSY LAURA CAPPELLO

    says:

    THEY ARE ALL HEARTLESS AT A CRISIS LIKE THIS PETS ARE FAMILY NO MATTER THE SIZE !!!
    PEOPLE NEED TO BOYCOT HOLLIDAY INNS ALL OVER !!! THEY SHOULD BE ASHAMED DOING THIS TO PEOPLE WHO LOST EVERYTHING !! KARMA WILL COME THERE WAY SOON !!!

  17. Avatar Of Nancy

    Nancy

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Kathryn A Baker

    Kathryn A Baker

    says:

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

  19. Avatar Of Tammy

    Tammy

    says:

    FUCK THE HOLIDAY INN . I WILL NEVER SPEND ANOTHER NIGHT AT ONE. AND I WILL BE WRITING A LETTER TO THE CORPORATE OFFICE. THIS IS SO SAD !!!

  20. Avatar Of Joann

    joann

    says:

    That is so sad!!!

  21. Avatar Of Jennifer K

    Jennifer K

    says:

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

  22. Avatar Of Aldene Lacaria

    Aldene Lacaria

    says:

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

    • Avatar Of Ann

      Ann

      says:

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

    • Avatar Of Gypsy Laura Cappello

      GYPSY LAURA CAPPELLO

      says:

      ALL HOLLIDAY INNS SOME HAVE A SIZE PREFERENCE !! BUT AT TIMES LIKE THIS THEY ARE HEARTLESS , DISRESPECTFUL IDIOTS THEY SHOULD BE DOOMED ALL OF THEM !

    • Avatar Of Melody Carranza

      Melody Carranza

      says:

      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. Avatar Of Janice Ronsonette

    Janice Ronsonette

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Ron Elle

    Ron Elle

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Eva

    Eva

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Dee

    Dee

    says:

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

  27. Avatar Of Kaye

    Kaye

    says:

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

  28. Avatar Of Shellyp

    ShellyP

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Barb

    Barb

    says:

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

  30. Avatar Of Susan Walajtys

    Susan Walajtys

    says:

    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. Avatar Of M

    M

    says:

    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.

    • Avatar Of Brandy Arnold

      Brandy Arnold

      says:

      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. Avatar Of Lesley Lajoie

    Lesley Lajoie

    says:

    Interesting manager would have bent policy IF they paid a pet deposit AND IF they gave the hotel a good review.
    Huh? SOUNDS LIKE BLACKMAIL TO ME!!

    • Avatar Of Adana Suggs

      Adana Suggs

      says:

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

  33. Avatar Of Sam

    Sam

    says:

    I will never stay in a holiday inn again

  34. Avatar Of Della Williamson

    Della Williamson

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Bobby D Archangelo

    Bobby D Archangelo

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Corinne Loewy

    Corinne Loewy

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Chaz

    chaz

    says:

    Holiday Inn will never have my business again.

  38. Avatar Of Jan

    Jan

    says:

    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. Avatar Of L. Russell

    L. Russell

    says:

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

  40. Avatar Of Patricia Diss

    Patricia Diss

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Bee

    Bee

    says:

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

  42. Avatar Of Dana

    Dana

    says:

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

  43. Avatar Of S Dian

    S Dian

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Guy Montana

    Guy Montana

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Peggy

    Peggy

    says:

    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…

    • Avatar Of Brandy Arnold

      Brandy Arnold

      says:

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

    • Avatar Of Slw

      Slw

      says:

      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. Avatar Of Tiffany

    Tiffany

    says:

    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
    heart.

  47. Avatar Of Joan Rivet

    Joan RIVET

    says:

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

  48. Avatar Of Joan Harris

    Joan Harris

    says:

    I will boycott houday inn. SHAMEFUL

    • Avatar Of Nina Obrien

      Nina obrien

      says:

      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. Avatar Of Allesi

    Allesi

    says:

    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. Avatar Of Nora Perez

    Nora Perez

    says:

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

    • Avatar Of Brenda Caronna

      Brenda Caronna

      says:

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

  51. Avatar Of Jm

    JM

    says:

    ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING!!!!!!!!

  52. Avatar Of Bugz99

    Bugz99

    says:

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

    • Avatar Of Indrani

      indrani

      says:

      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.

      • Avatar Of Carol

        Carol

        says:

        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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