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Ask about hotel rules for Fido

February 15, 2004

Regarding "Come, Sit, Stay With Your Pet" (Sourcebook issue, Feb. 1): It is nice to see that upscale U.S. hotels are adopting pet policies once reserved for Europe and the Caribbean.

Though hotels here may be making an effort to accommodate our furry family members, there are a few things that should be clarified before arrival so that you may avoid some of the surprises I had while traveling domestically.

Get in writing the policy regarding leaving your pet unattended in the room. Several hotels insist that you take your pet everywhere you go. As restaurants, museums, theaters and spas don't allow them in, you may find yourself in a Catch-22. What are you going to do with those tickets to the ballet or opera at the eleventh hour? Some hotels will gladly arrange to have someone pet-sit your pooch while you're out, but it may ruffle your fur to pay an exorbitant fee.

Also, have the hotel staff inspect the room for damages at the time of departure and note it on the bill. I once got a bill from a hotel one week later for dry-cleaning the comforter, even though it was stored in the closet during my visit.

Again, get everything in writing. I once spoke to three reservations agents at a hotel and got three conflicting pet policies.

Camille Gaon

Pacific Palisades

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There are many people, like me, who are allergic to pets and who must now scan the pet policy of every hotel, restaurant and airline to be sure we will not be exposed to conditions where we will suffer allergic reactions and be hospitalized or die -- all because someone had to bring Spot or Puff along.

I won't knowingly patronize any establishment that permits pets on the premises. I believe that when the choice is between pets and making people sick, a person's health is more important. Taking care of human clients should be the first priority of any hotel, restaurant or airline. Accommodating pets should be the last.

No group of people I've encountered in life has been more selfish, self-centered and inconsiderate than dog owners.

K.M. Morey

Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

Send letters to Travel, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012; fax (213) 237-7355, e-mail travel@ latimes.com. Include your name, address and phone.

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