This last weekend, I attended the Harvest Moon cluster of dog shows (at which I had a great time). I, like a lot of dog show folks, stayed at a nearby hotel. After two threatening incidents in the hotel parking lot, I may not stay there ever again.
We had a medium sized room with one bed and one pull-out, 3 people, and 7 Irish Water Spaniels. Like a lot of the dog show folks, we kept some of our dogs in crates in our cars over night.
One morning I went out to the parking lot to take care of my dogs, where I was verbally assaulted by a furiously angry man. He loudly used a lot of disgusting and profane language, calling me all kinds of names, accusing me of cruelty, and screaming at me that I shouldn’t be allowed to have animals.
He claimed that it is illegal in that state to keep dogs in cars over night, and that it is cruel to keep dogs in cages. He screamed he would call the dog show to have me “sanctioned” (whatever that means), and the local Humane Society to have my car broken into and my dogs seized.
I just stood there. I figured that replying or walking away would just provoke him further.
Needless to say, we kept our dogs in our hotel room at night, in crates, for the rest of our stay. Crowded, inconvenient, but do-able.
One roommate went to talk to the hotel management, and the other tried to do some research into state law. It turned out that this guy is a frequent guest at this hotel, and the management is familiar with him. However, they were unable (or maybe just unwilling) to help us. What we found out about the law was somewhat confusing.
On our last morning, I brought the dogs out to the car for their breakfast and water and then went to eat my own breakfast. When I arrived back at the car about 20 minutes later, the guy was standing a few yards from the car, this time with his pitbull. He again verbally accosted me, screaming essentially the same things in the same manner. Except that this time he added also that “running dogs in little circles and then shoving them back into crates for the rest of their lives” is cruel. (Which it would be, if that’s what we did.)
After saying just a few words, I stopped talking and just stood there silently again until he stomped off. I briefly thought about telling him that I do more than run in circles, that I also hunt my dogs, and would he like to see my shotgun — but thought better of it. I also wondered what he’d say to hunt test pros with their trucks.
As soon as he walked away, I called the police. Amazingly, they came quite quickly.
They told us that the guy was misinformed about the law, and assured us that we had broken no law in their jurisdiction. That the rule referred to extreme temperatures, plus lack of food, water, and ventilation, none of which applied in this situation.
They also said that they’d find out who the fellow was, and talk to him if they could. I hope they did, not that I think it will do much good.
I doubt that I’ll stay at that hotel again. What I’m still thinking about is if it would be useful to let the organizing clubs know about how unhelpful the hotel staff were in the face of a guest’s being menaced in their parking lot.
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