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"Service Dog" has been left, unnattended in a no pets home

Hi Everyone,

My guest is staying in our private room that we rent out in our home. Because we already have two territorial dogs on our property, we have a no pets policy, but we obviously make exceptions for service animals.

My guest arrived, and it was immediately clear that she only is calling it a service animal to use the loophole that hosts must abide by. This dog is clearly not a service not and does not behave like one.

In the agreement, that we discussed ahead of time, we let her know as long as the dog is with her at all times and not left unnatended she would be permitted to have this “service dog” stay with her.

Today, we discover that she has left the dog unnatended, not crated, alone in the room for hours and hours on end while she attends a wedding somewhere. I have attempted to contact her numerous times explaining that she is in breach of our contract and house rules. I have reached out to AirBnB and there is an open case, but no resource assigned at this moment.

My question here is what do I do now?? There has been no response from the guest and the poor puppy (the dog is an untrained puppy) is crying at the door. Do we have the right to terminate this guests contract and go in and let this dog out to at least relieve itself and to ensure it isn’t doing damage? Can we kick these guests out for lying and violating the house rules and AirBnB rules regarding always keeping your service animals with you?

What are our next possible steps.

Thank you in advanced.

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I hope you are comfortable, capable and qualified (highly unlikely unless you are a professional yourself) to safely handle someone else’s dog. If so, be sure yours are behind locked door and take it out on a leash to potty. If not I would contact Animal Control. In fact, I might contact them anyways as they are your best professional resource.

Airbnb is likely not going to touch this with a proverbial ten foot pole. If someone even CLAIMS that an animal is a service animal (even though it is very obviously not) they refuse to discuss it any further, in my experience.

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Ugh. What a twat, no t-shirt for her.

Do you mind if I ask how you’ve been trying to reach the guest? I know we always say to keep communications on the Airbnb platform, but if this guest doesn’t have the app on her phone, perhaps texting/calling might be an option? And then just copy and paste the text to the Airbnb messaging system.

That poor puppy…

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Hi Auztin,
Oh my golly Gosh !
Take the puppy out for a leash walk & charge her extra for X hours dog sitting / walking.
Just thinking of the young dog locked up in in a strange house on it’s own, with no outdoor access & obviously it will be forced to use your floor to relieve itself.
Notify her you are doing this through airbnb messages, as the dog is in distress - as well as in breach your house rules of no unaccompanied dogs.
Unfair on you, and very unfair and sad for the home alone dog.

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Thank you for this, bookmarked.

Also: People abusing hosts AND their dogs like this is unacceptable.

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To avoid this in the future…

Since a service animal must be with the guest at all times (i.e., not left unattended at the property), perhaps it would be a good strategy to document that understanding with the guest in the Air message system, along with what the host will do (call animal control, enter the premises, etc.) should the “service animal” be abandoned. At the very least, it would give the host the ability to intervene more quickly, and it might also dissuade guests from trying to pass off a pet as a legitimate SA.

Thoughts?

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Texas has one of the stiffer penalties, btw.

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Please update - what did you do?

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You can have your Airbnb shut down for even asking for paperwork for a service dog so tread very lightly. The one thing is that a service dog should always be with an owner. You should also know that since you homeshare and have dogs, you can probably put in your house rules due to safety of the service dog, it is highly not recommended that your dog stay here. Just be VERY careful. It’s one of the things that will get you shut down with no communication from Airbnb.

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I also board dogs in my home and so am well equipped to let a dog out into a place to go potty. This isn’t just a matter of the guest violating rules but also of the dog’s well being. I would inform Airbnb and the guest and I’d go in and get the dog. Depending on what I found I’d put it back or not. I even have a crate I could put in the room but if the dog bark or cried I wouldn’t put up with that. I’d probably take the dog and try to charge them.

In order to try to avoid the bad review I’d approach it strictly as a dog welfare issue and you are trying to do the guest and dog a favor. "Hi Gina, I’m sure you’ve been busy with the wedding so I’m going to get Fido out of your room and take care of him for you. I’m sending the charge for day care via the resolution center. The link is www.airbnb.com/resolutions.

Hopefully she will appreciate it and leave a glowing review. Regardless, review her honestly so the rest of us can be prepared.

As an aside I also have a guest this weekend with a dog. She left yesterday afternoon around 4 pm and got home around 3 am. And I don’t think she took the dog out after she got in. Some dogs are pee pad trained and I have all tile now so I’m not too worried but I do feel for the dog. They could easily have me watch the dogs but almost no guests do. Too cheap and too clueless about their dogs.

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A service animal does NOT need to be with its handler at all times. However in this case the agreement had been made that the dog would not be left at the house. That should have been made on the platform.

Once more it seems that the distinction between service dog and emotional support animal (this case must be the latter) is mucking up the waters.

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See question #29.

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It does for Airbnb. This is in their help info and I have had it confirmed by CS as well. We are actually dog friendly and the only issue we’ve ever had was with a service dog - it was left in the apartment for 10+ hours alone and I couldn’t get in touch with the guest so had to call in and make sure it was going to be fine to go in and take care of it.

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You are correct. Airbnb specifically notes that a service animal or ESA should not be left alone at the listing.

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I would write the guests and have them answer in the app for documentation.
How did you ctc her? In the app hopefully?
Then contact Airbnb and throw them out, so YES you can kick them out and cancel the booking!

Poor you and poor dog having to live alongside that animal!

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That means at all times in the hotel.

Correct, at a hotel or at an Airbnb a service animal can’t be left there.

Just an FYI, one cannot claim a puppy as a Service Animal, and depending on your state, you may not be required to accept “Service Dogs in Training”.

From the ADA site: Q6. Are service-animals-in-training considered service animals under the ADA?

A . No. Under the ADA, the dog must already be trained before it can be taken into public places. However, some State or local laws cover animals that are still in training.

Shame on this person for lying and making access difficult for real handlers!

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