Best Western is known across the nation as a hotel chain that is extremely pet friendly. But one hotel in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is getting heat for reportedly refusing a North Carolina family the right to bring their service dog with them on a one-night stay.
Beau Vaughn has epilepsy, and the 13-year-old boy’s assistance dog, Chip, can sense when he is about to have a seizure, WAFB reports. Chip is a vital member of the Vaughn family and travels with Beau everywhere – from restaurants to family trips.
But when mom Karen recently made reservations at a Best Western in the Louisiana city - despite alerting them to Chip’s presence, which is something she is not obligated to do under the Americans with Disabilities Act - she received an email back from them claiming they could not be accommodated because the hotel was not “pet friendly,” notes the Huffington Post.
Karen, who is a lawyer, made it clear that Chip was an assistant dog and that the hotel was not legally allowed to turn them away because of this. According to the Consumerist, a hotel staff member told Karen that she knew about ADA, but could not go against the orders of her employer.
Best Western corporate headquarters is siding with the Vaughn family, and has made the decision to restrict the hotel from using the Best Western name. It says its “future association with the brand” is “to be determined.”
“We provide extensive training to ensure our hotels understand and address the needs of guests with special needs,” Best Western representatives said in a statement. “We deeply regret the matter and we will continue to proactively communicate ADA requirements and training to Best Western branded hotels to ensure all guests are treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”
But the owner of the Baton Rouge chain claims there was a misunderstanding in this case and that the family’s reservation was not rejected. “The people who made that reservation, themselves, terminated their reservation,” he said.