Hotel Refuses Family’s Dogs While Evacuating Harvey Floodwaters

Update: September 1, 2017 at 7:45 a.m.

The following is a statement issued to the Inquisitr by the Holiday Inn Express spokesperson:

“We are very sorry that the Parker family and their pets had this experience. Providing the highest level of hospitality is at the core of everything we do and we simply fell well short of our expectations in this instance. We have been in contact with this hotel to address the situation and to understand why this occurred – given the hotel was accommodating pets during the flooding.

“We have also made two separate donations totaling $5,000 to Houston PetSet’s Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund, which is working to raise the critical funds that will be necessary for animal rescue and welfare-related efforts, as well as Rescue Bank Houston, which provides grants to the animal rescue community in the form of donated pet food, delivered through regional affiliates.

“As a company comprised of different people – many of whom live and work in the impacted areas – we are highly sensitive to the needs of those impacted during this extremely difficult time and are working diligently to best accommodate guests, and comfort those seeking relief at IHG hotels. “

Original report

A hotel refused three dogs of a Texas family trying to evacuate Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters. Gillian Parker is opening up about the experience her family went through while trying to flee the wrath of Harvey and what they encountered when their last option presented itself.

Gillian tells People magazine that she, her husband, Phillip, their 16-year-old daughter, Allison, and her 81-year-old grandmother, Sylvia, received the mandatory evacuation notice to get out of their New Territory, Texas home at 10 p.m. Sunday night. They used two cars to take everything they could pack along with their three dogs. They raced down the highway confronted with a series of obstacles on the created by Hurricane Harvey, such as dead ends and closed roads. They finally found a hotel that had a place for them to stay, but they refused to take the family’s dogs.

The hotel that refused the dogs amid Harvey was a Holiday Inn Express & Suites located in Katy, Texas. The well-known hotel chain flatly refused to accept the Parker family’s dogs; Arrow, a shepherd lab mix, Wiggum, a chocolate lab-hound mix, and Buttercup, a yellow lab. Gillian claims that she tried reasoning with hotel management to allow the dogs in, but they cited Holiday Inn Express’ “no-pet policy.” According to the report, corporate contacts told Gillian that since Katy’s Holiday Inn Express & Suites is a franchise, there was nothing they could do to “immediately override the rule.”

Gillian calls the hotel’s decision “ridiculous and outrageous. She couldn’t believe that a historic flood event resulting in the “national guard pulling people out of their houses” close by wasn’t enough for the hotel to make an exception to their strict policy.

The Parker family had no choice but to stay at the hotel. Other lodging facilities were completely booked, and the family had nowhere else to go. They were forced to keep the dogs in the car with someone inside to stay with them at all hours. Gillian, Phillip, and Allison took turns sitting in the car as the rain kept coming down.

Gillian was in disbelief over the whole thing.

“It’s pouring rain. 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.”

Gillian explained that she didn’t just bring the dogs inside the hotel anyway because she came from a family of “rule followers” and feared the family would be kicked out. It wasn’t a time to take any chances, so they went with the inflexible rules.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites General Manager Jim Hernandez told People magazine that the hotel has “not wavered” their policy “at this time.”

“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.”

Holiday Inn Express & Suites (Image via sshepard/iStock Images)

Gillian said the place Hernandez was referring to is currently closed. She says she’s “playing nice right now,” but is “biding her time” because there’s going to be a time she won’t. Her story is just starting to get picked up by other news outlets. Gillian hopes that Holiday Inn Express will do the right thing in the end, but she isn’t keeping quiet about how the hotel refused the family’s dogs during Hurricane Harvey. It’s a time when everyone is helping each other, and this incident isn’t one of the better examples of that concept.

[Featured Image by River North Photography/iStock Images]