A Nova Scotia woman whose barking dog was removed from her hotel room and put in a cold truck without her knowledge says her ordeal should be a warning for anyone who travels with a pet.
Katelyn Rushton says her "heart dropped" when she returned to her hotel room late one night and Jada, her 90-pound Yellow Lab mix, was gone.
"It was terrifying, I didn't know where my dog was," she said.
On Dec. 3, Rushton, of Maccan, N.S., checked into the Howard Johnson hotel on Mountain Road in Moncton with three friends and her dog.
She paid the $10 pet surcharge for the room, but says she was never told she couldn't leave the dog alone in the room.
The hotel manager, who would only identify himself as Ankur, disputes this.
He said it is hotel policy, "just like you could not leave a minor alone in a room," and said it was made clear to Rushton's party.
Rushton said had she known about the policy, the four would not have gone out for supper and left the dog alone.
But they did go out, and when they returned a few hours later, Rushton said she was shocked to find a note saying Jada had been put in her friend's vehicle because she was "barking continuously."
The hotel manager told CBC said the dog's barking was disturbing the other guests, so he tried calling the number on the hotel reservation. But there was no answer because it was the home phone number of one of the friends.
So he called the hotel's general manager to see what he should do about it. The general manager then called the RCMP.
Codiac RCMP Staff-Sgt. Eric Larose said officers got the call about 11 p.m., and because the dog was barking and nobody was answering the door or phone, they were initially worried about the welfare of the guests inside.
But when the officers entered the room, they discovered the dog was alone.
"It started with a welfare check and it turned out to be a mischief investigation," Larose said, adding Rushton could have been charged under the dog bylaw.
Officers 'used their judgement'
Larose said "for the safety of the dog, and to make sure the people in the hotel rooms could sleep," the officers "used their judgement" and put the dog in the vehicle that was registered with the room.
But Rushton said the officers should not have opened the truck and put her dog inside without her consent.
"It was storming that that night, we could have got stuck somewhere and she would have been in that truck all night," she said.
"She could have froze to death. No ventilation, no food, no water no blankets. ... I wish they had have taken her somewhere warm."
After the ordeal, Rushton and her friends decided not to stay at the hotel for the night.
Wants an apology
She thinks they should be refunded the room charge, and offered an apology for putting the dog in the vehicle without their consent.
She also wants hotels to make it more clear what will happen if dogs are left alone in a room.
"We want the hotel to make policies so that this doesn't happen to anybody else," Rushton said.
"We take full responsibility for her barking. We have apologized, now we want an apology. We wouldn't have taken her had we known she would be in harm or had we known she was going to disturb anybody."