A Houston family were outraged after a Holiday Inn refused to let their three rescue dogs sleep in their hotel room as they fled from their New Territory home on Sunday night while seeking refuge from Hurricane Harvey’s rising tidewaters. Gillian and Phillip Parker, their teenage daughter, the family’s 81-year-old grandmother and their three rescue dogs, left their home after a mandatory evacuation was ordered.
For hours the family drove around until they found the Holiday Inn Express in Katy, Texas – finally a place to stay, but the staff at the hotel told them they were not allowed to take their dogs into the room. Now picture this – pouring rain and nowhere to go; their dogs, Arrow, a shepherd and Lab mix, Wiggum, a Lab and hound mix, and Buttercup, a yellow Lab spent two nights in the family’s Toyota Prius.
“It’s ridiculous and outrageous,’ Gillian, 47, 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?”
Gillian and Phillip took turns spending the nights in their car with the dogs and walking them in the rain. When asked why they just didn’t sneak the dogs into their room, the family stated they just obey rules and didn’t want to chance getting kicked out of the hotel.
Holiday Inn General Manager Jim Hernandez explained his hotel was not pet friendly, but did offer guest a local area where pets could be kenneled. The Parkers said the facility was closed. And for two nights, the family cared for themselves and their dogs until the TownePlaceSuites by Marriott offered them – accompanied by their dogs a place to stay.
Ironically, or maybe sadly to report, the Holiday Inn finally agreed to let the dogs into the room in exchange for a positive review and pet deposit according to the family.
Corporate owners of Holiday Inn Express have since apologized to the family for their experience and in a statement to PEOPLE:
“We are working to understand what occurred in this instance, and are communicating to our franchisees in the impacted areas to do all they can to accommodate pets,” the statement read. “As the region continues to feel impacts from the storm, we are highly sensitive to the needs of those affected during this extremely difficult time and are working diligently to best accommodate guests and their needs, and comfort those seeking relief at IHG hotels.”
The company has offered to waive the fees and provide them with bonus points for future stays. In response, the Parkers stated they would prefer the company to make a donation to disaster relief efforts and the Fort Bend County Animal Services — from where the two dogs were adopted. Donations can be made through Amazon Smile.
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Newborn foal stuck in the mud – watch a heartwarming video of his rescue here.