Veiled threat in an inquiry re service animal

Well, it’s happened, an inquiry has come in asking to host a guest with a service dog. Our house rules state no animals, due to safety reasons. We are a homeshare, & one of our 2 dogs can be unpredictable with other dogs. She is dominant, & we just never know how she’ll react to other dogs. I’ve never encountered this situation, & after explaining our reasons for our no animal policy, said guest has responded stating that I am discriminating against the disabled. Aside from the fact that my dog could be aggressive, I have never had a dog in our guest suite, & really don’t want to open that can of worms. Here’s the inquiry :
Hi, I am interested booking your schoolhouse. I travel with a legitimate, medically necessary service dog. Legally he is allowed to stay with me anywhere I go, however I always check with hosts before I book to make sure there won’t be any problems. You can see from my ratings that I am a respectful and courteous guest, and every airbnb stay I have done has been with my service dog. Please let me know if you are okay with that. Thanks,
And my response:
Thank you for your inquiry, & explaining the need for your service dog. I appreciate your situation, & respect that you reached out in an honest way.
Unfortunately, we don’t allow animals (as you see in the listing we are a homeshare) because we have two dogs of our own. One is old & perfect, the other is younger & to be honest, has shown to be unpredictable around other dogs. She’s fine with people, but is definitely the dominant dog here.
I suggest checking Airbnb to see if the Round house is open for the dates that you are requesting.
In addition to suggesting my (pet friendly) neighbor’s listing, I also gave her 2 other listings in the area to check into. I was surprised to receive this response:
Service dogs are legally considered medical equipment, not pets. Therefore you are discriminating against the disabled. While I appreciate your reasons for not allowing animals, you are violating ADA law by having this policy.
I’ve already declined the request, & am inclined to not respond to her last message. Any thoughts?

It’s strange to message you with an enquiry that seems to be based on the idea that if you weren’t “ok with that”, then they would presumably seek an alternative and that would be the end of the matter. After all, who would want to stay somewhere with a dog when the host clearly says they’re not welcome? Their message comes across as a polite request but is actually a sort of adversarial challenge that probably anticipates refusal. Maybe their medical condition is being obtuse and antagonistic and their dog provides the necessary arbitration service…


Ha ha! I didn’t bother to ask the 2 questions I can legally ask regarding the service dog. It’s always been my belief that guests with true service animals will look for listings that are animal friendly. Something about this inquiry got my “spidie sense” awakened from the get go. I was not anticipating anything other than a simple “thank you for the other suggestions” in response. I’m letting a sleeping dog lie for now.


I don’t know the guests situation but why would you want to book a rental upon hearing there are dogs in the shared listing and one is not reliable around other dogs.

It would be a whole other thing if it was a separated rental. I think you’ve done the right thing and it is your house and you are trying to prevent trouble.

I wouldn’t respond again either.


I would have pointed out to her that in homeshare situations, where there is a safety issue, which there is because of your territorial alpha dog, hosts are exempt from accepting service animals, and at no time did you refer to a service dog as a “pet” (“Animal” isn’t the same thing as “pet”). You should never suggest “pet friendly” to a guest with a service dog, because they aren’t pets.

And told her that entire place listings do have to accept service animals, so she should look for an entire place, or a homeshare that accepts animals.


I guess “See you in court, bitch” wouldn’t be appropriate for an Airbnb host, but given the games she is playing (and that the law is on your side in this case), that would certainly be my first thought, even if it never did reach my fingertips and the keyboard.


if it was an inquiry, I’d have blocked the calendar. If it was RTB, I’d have declined and then blocked the calendar for some time. Then block the guest and open the calendar the next day.

I have a no pets listing and I get service animal requests.

yes, I’d have done the same (but I’m not a homeshare host).

Usually, when I get a guest with a service animal, I send them the service animal rules and tell them that any violation of the rules such as leaving the service animal alone would result in an immediate cancellation, and eviction without a refund. If that is not acceptable, they can cancel and I will provide a full refund if they cancel by XX time today.

The fake service animal people usually cancel. I have a saved message about this so it doesn’t take too much of my time every time


That may be your belief, but it isn’t necessarily true. The whole point of ADA rules pertaining to service animals is that someone who is disabled and has a true service dog can’t be denied in most situations.

Of course, I should think most service dog handlers wouldn’t want to bring their animal into a situation which could be dangerous to it, but then there are the types you just dealt with, who will push and threaten.

She is very passive-aggressive.

So she checked, you told her it is a problem, and she didn’t accept the answer. That makes her statement above total BS.


First, to clarify, was this an inquiry or a request? Inquiries do not have to be accepted nor declined, only answered.

I think it is more problematic if you declined an actual request to book. What does the forum think of a the possibility of a suspension or shut down if there is a discrimination complaint? The tenor of the communications almost seems to indicate some sort of advocacy position-- they test a host, then try to school them. Is the next step a complaint to Airbnb?

Although you risk giving Airbnb notice of an issue that may well not ever arise, I would consider contacting Airbnb CS, with the tone of asking for advice:

“I don’t know what to do about this guest inquiry. This is a shared home listing. My dog loves people but doesn’t tolerate guest dogs. They want to bring their service dog, but I would feel terrible if the dogs got into a fight and there were injuries. I’ve explained to them, but they seemed upset when I suggested they find a different Airbnb. What should I do?”


It’s absolutely not worth even thinking about. She overreacted, true, but I wouldn’t give it a second thought.

She got it off her chest so job done. :slight_smile:


On further thought, it is risky to contact Airbnb, as you may get a clueless CS who insists you accept service animals. You could go on the record by replying to the guest using the terminology that due to the situation of the resident dog, it is not considered a reasonable request for accommodations, e.g., you cannot afford to board your dog for the duration of the booking, etc.

Per Airnbb: " * Hosts are allowed to refuse certain unreasonable or unattainable requests that:

  • Increase the safety risk to the Host or others
  • Fundamentally change the nature of an Experience or impact it for other guests
  • Require a structural modification to a building or listing
  • Require the Host to take on added responsibilities that are time-intensive or put a significant physical or financial burden on them
  • Ask a Host to violate local laws or HOA/building requirements
  • A Host will not be penalized if the Host’s failure to make a reasonable accommodation is deemed out of their control or if the Host has objectively shown why the request is unreasonable or unattainable for them.

[quote=“mollimac, post:1, topic:58624, full:true”] Any thoughts?

People do not like “no”.

Next time tell them about the dogs and that there is a big risk that the service dog gets attacked and injured.
Tell them that if they book, they are doing at their own risk, they have been warned and you take no responsibility, and you will not pay any medical bills for the dog.

They will not book.

I do the same with our shared listing. We have a cat that hates dogs, he will attack any dog entering his home and will not stop until the dog is gone. If I guest likes to visit a vet on the first day of their visit … they are free to book.

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Glad to see you rethought the original advice. It seemed quite risky to me to involve Airbnb. Too likely to get a clueless CS rep who insists the host has to accept, and keep their dog locked up, then suspends the host pending an “investigation” anda black mark on the account for "discrimination.

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Good point on informing her of the differences between whole house & shared listings. I totally agree w/ your other message that she is very passive aggressive. She was looking for trouble in her first message. Let’s just hope she goes away!

It was an inquiry, not a request. I realize I didn’t need to accept or decline, but declined so as to put an end to the messages. Didn’t work! :unamused:

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Son of a b!#*¥, she must’ve reported me! My listing’s been shut down “temporarily”. I’ve been contacted by Air, & now I get to jump through countless hoops to get an exemption. I could just :face_vomiting:


So sorry to hear that. What a b***h. What she really meant was “I always check with hosts before I book to make sure there won’t be any problems, for the purpose of reporting them if there are.”

I hope you can sort it out ASAP.
You don’t need to “get an exemption”. I wouldn’t use those words with Airbnb. You are already exempt because you are a homeshare host with safety issue for other people’s animals. Which they could have checked in 3 minutes instead of suspending your listing.


Thanks Muddy, you are a much needed voice of reason! Rachel from Air emailed ( from the specialized team that handles issues such as discrimination), with a nice long list of Air’s policies. “Our Accessibility Policy states that Hosts may not decline a reservation on the basis of a guest’s assistance animal, unless they are subject to an applicable exemption (for example, severe allergies)” Applicable exemption? I wrote this listing 6 years ago, & there was nothing said about the need for an exemption prior to going live.
Now that my blood pressure is over the top, I can’t think clearly! I do seem to remember seeing something recently in TOS about homeshare hosts being exempt due to safety reasons around animals. Well , Rachel conveniently hasn’t attached that guidance in her list of rules… I know I need to compile a rational response to this notice, but wish I could cite an Air policy.
What a huge energy drain! :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:
Btw, where are you, Glenn?!


Well, it seems they have changed the wording of the service animal policy since I last looked at it. But here it is : Accessibility Policy - Airbnb Help Center

The part you could use is

" Hosts are allowed to refuse certain unreasonable or unattainable requests that:
*Increase the safety risk to the Host or others. (the others being the guest’s dog that could get attacked by yours)
and also:

  • Require the Host to take on added responsibilities that are time-intensive or put a significant physical or financial burden on them." (having to lock your own dog up for the duration of the stay)

I had a Guest actually book my place and claimed that as a courtesy, he was letting me know he was bringing his service dog. I immediately contacted CS and was granted an “Exemption” through Airbnb (I have severe asthma) and was told I had to write about this exemption in my listing description & my House Rules, which I have since done. They cancelled the reservation with no penalty.

I agree with @muddy . Your animals are “family members,” and their safety as well as yours could be compromised should your dog attack another animal. You need to state your concerns & fears so CS understands that there could be a dangerous situation should you make an exception. If you need to escalate the case, do so as soon as possible. Wishing you success in getting your “exception” and getting your listing back up.