“I don’t care if there’s a hurricane! The policy clearly states: No pets allowed!”
At 10 p.m. on Sunday, Gillian and Phillip Parker received a phone call telling them that a mandatory evacuation was issued for the area of New Territory, Texas.
The couple, along with their 16-year-old daughter Allison Parker and her 81-year-old grandmother Sylvia Parker, packed what they could, gathered up their three dogs — Arrow (a shepherd lab mix), Wiggum (a chocolate lab-hound mix), and Buttercup (a yellow Lab) — and hit the road.
Around midnight, the Parkers arrived at the only open hotel they could find: the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Katy, Texas.
That’s where the Parkers got the news that their three dogs would not be allowed into the hotel to stay with them.
“It’s ridiculous and outrageous,” Gillian, 47, tells 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 tried reasoning with management, begging them to allow the dogs inside. But local management refused to budge, citing the hotel’s no-pet policy.
Corporate contacts told Gillian that because the Katy location is a franchise, there’s nothing they can do to immediately override the rule.
With all hotels booked and nowhere else to go, the Parkers had no choice but to stay.
Since Sunday, the dogs — who were each adopted by the family from shelters — have been staying in the Parkers’ Prius.
“They’re never alone,” Gillian says. She and Phillip and their daughter Allison take turns sitting in the car with the dogs and taking them for walks.
“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.”
When asked why she didn’t insist on bringing the dogs inside, Gillian chalks it up to being a family of “rule-followers.”
“My husband’s English,” she says. “You stand in line and you wait your turn. You don’t bust your way in and do what you want.”
They are also worried about consequences. “We’re afraid we’ll get kicked out,” she confesses. “I don’t want to lose my place in the hotel. At this point we’re so tired. And I’m afraid to leave. We hope we’re safe.”
Do you agree with the hotel management’s no-pet policy? Let us know in the comments section below!
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