"unattended" Dogs? What Does That Mean?

Discussion in 'Destinations and RV Parks' started by nicki, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. nicki

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    We are rule-followers at campgrounds, so it surprised me to be reprimanded by a campground owner recently for leaving our two dogs "unattended" inside our camper while we left for an outing. The windows were all shut, blinds down, A/C on. The owner said when he came for the "honey cart" service we requested, he noticed the dogs were barking inside. I asked him if he had noticed them barking before or after performing the service, or on any other occasion at all. He said no, and he did admit to "banging around" while doing the service (I'll say--he broke the release handle right off.) But he said the barking was not even the point--the point was that campground rules clearly state that dogs are not to be left unattended and we had clearly left them unattended. I was dumbfounded--I really thought "unattended" meant leaving them outside chained to a tree or something like that when you were not there. I always figured it was OK to leave them inside provided they are not barking the entire time. (My dogs are old--I am pretty sure they just sleep--we have certainly never had any complaints before, from neighboring campers OR owners. When we were new at camping I would even ask the neighbors if they had heard any barking while were gone, and we were always told no.) I notice in just about every list of CG rules, it states dogs are not to be left unattended, so my question is, especially for all you campground owners, what is the interpretation of the word "unattended" when it pertains to dogs left in campers? (Please note that we always leave water available, windows closed, blinds down, A/C on when hot out, and even check back every hour or two if it is VERY hot to make sure the A/C is still working.)
     
  2. BBear

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    My interpretation of "unattended" means pets are not to be left alone, whether outside or inside your camper.

    I'm sure you have the best intentions for your pets leaving them inside your camper with the AC on, but unfortunately it's not uncommon especially in the summer months with hot temperatures when everyone is juicing a lot of power using AC that power interruptions do occur of which would leave your pets in your camper with all the windows closed and no AC. I don't think I have to tell you what the possible outcome of such a situation could be to your pets.

    Even if you check back every hour or so, it only takes but a few minutes for the cool down and the heat to start to get to temperatures that could be detrimental to your pets.
     
  3. RockHound

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    I agree with BBear, you just never know when a breaker might kick - on the supply pole or in the camper - and there your dogs are with no air and everything closed up tight. I can't name the number of times a breaker has kicked while we were present, or while we were gone. This is one of the many reasons we leave our pets with sitters while camping. You either can't leave the campground, or you have to take them everywhere with you. Of course, this limits where you can go when shopping, sightseeing, etc., but I guess that's part of traveling with pets. I understand that some people have to bring their pets when camping. Either full timers, or people that have no one to watch them, or they are just too much a part of the family to leave behind. In these cases you have to either take chances on leaving them in the camper, or make sacrifices and maybe not get to go to all the places you want to go.
     
  4. jchapman

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    ok, well I really just think the guy was feeling bad about breaking your release handle that this was his only outlet to turn the situation from him to you...just chalk that one up to his ignorance. Also, if you are treating your motorhome like your home, then I say leave your pooches in their home while you are out. You obviously know the chances you are taking if the ac goes out. I'm no expert by any means, but I think the big picture here is the psychology of most recent situation--being the mistake by the man, not the dog.







    QUOTE(nicki @ Aug 10 2009, 05:44 AM) [snapback]18206[/snapback]

    We are rule-followers at campgrounds, so it surprised me to be reprimanded by a campground owner recently for leaving our two dogs "unattended" inside our camper while we left for an outing. The windows were all shut, blinds down, A/C on. The owner said when he came for the "honey cart" service we requested, he noticed the dogs were barking inside. I asked him if he had noticed them barking before or after performing the service, or on any other occasion at all. He said no, and he did admit to "banging around" while doing the service (I'll say--he broke the release handle right off.) But he said the barking was not even the point--the point was that campground rules clearly state that dogs are not to be left unattended and we had clearly left them unattended. I was dumbfounded--I really thought "unattended" meant leaving them outside chained to a tree or something like that when you were not there. I always figured it was OK to leave them inside provided they are not barking the entire time. (My dogs are old--I am pretty sure they just sleep--we have certainly never had any complaints before, from neighboring campers OR owners. When we were new at camping I would even ask the neighbors if they had heard any barking while were gone, and we were always told no.) I notice in just about every list of CG rules, it states dogs are not to be left unattended, so my question is, especially for all you campground owners, what is the interpretation of the word "unattended" when it pertains to dogs left in campers? (Please note that we always leave water available, windows closed, blinds down, A/C on when hot out, and even check back every hour or two if it is VERY hot to make sure the A/C is still working.)
     
  5. BBear

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    QUOTE(jchapman @ Aug 10 2009, 05:58 AM) [snapback]18211[/snapback]

    ok, well I really just think the guy was feeling bad about breaking your release handle that this was his only outlet to turn the situation from him to you...just chalk that one up to his ignorance. Also, if you are treating your motorhome like your home, then I say leave your pooches in their home while you are out. You obviously know the chances you are taking if the ac goes out. I'm no expert by any means, but I think the big picture here is the psychology of most recent situation--being the mistake by the man, not the dog.



    Since the campground owner stated at least according to the OP that in the campground rules it specifically states no pets should be left unattended, then I would think broken handle or not, he would have brought this to the camper's attention.
     
  6. abbygolden

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    I disagree with BBear. Unattended to me means leaving your pets outside, either in an x-pen or on a tether, with no one around. Leaving your pets inside your RV is the same as leaving
    them in your home. It is constrained under safe conditions and conditions to which it is comfortable with (what a bad sentence construction that is!). I have no fear of leaving my dogs in my MH. I have for over 25 years with no complaints. However, if, during the in-briefing, the attendant specifies that your pet may not be left alone in your RV, or if it specifies same in a pamphlet, then I agree that is the rule in that park. I've never seen or heard that and if I did, I would go elsewhere.
     
  7. FosterImposters

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    Dollar to a donut: this is a campground insurance wrinkle. ;)

    Rockhound is right: we've witnessed overloads, lightening strikes, car hits power pole, and grass-fire related power outages in our travels. It's just a given.

    If the rules cover 'unattended pets' then the campground is covered regardless of where one left their pet, should it get sick, attacked, freezes or whatever...while its owner was absent.

    In many long-term and/or snow-bird parks one signs a waiver to this effect, as of course you cannot go to the grocery store, or doctor's office...or golfing... with a dog or cat in tow!
     
  8. nicki

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    That's what I was thinking as far as seaonal campers and their dogs--surely they are not expected to take their dog EVERYWHERE with them. This particular campground was mostly seasonals, in fact while the owner was reprimanding me in was with the loud barking of other people's dogs in the background, which was what we had dealt with the entire time at this CG. I asked him if it was OK for my dogs to bark wildly as long as they were attended, such was the case at that very given moment we were having this discussion, and he said the barking was coming from another place, not his CG, which was ridiculous, but besides all this, I see the "No dogs to be left unattended" rule at probably most CG's we stay at, so now I am wondering what that means in the eyes of a CG owner. In fact we stayed at one CG where that was the rule, but they offered a dog-walking service for if you were to be away all day, so of course in that owner's eyes they expected dogs to be left in campers, and even found a way to make a few bucks off of it. Fine with me, that's a great service to offer in my opinion. I just wish I could hear from a CG owner to interpret this rule. Is it an insurance thing? Or just a preference, so dogs won't be left barking inside the campers all day? Do CG owners really expect dogs to never ever be left inside a camper with no one home?
     
  9. Texasrvers

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    I cannot speak to what CG owners mean by this, but I can say that we do leave our animals unattended inside the motorhome. Like Foster said there are places you just cannot take them (grocery store, etc.), but I also admit to leaving them while we do day trips. However, we don't leave them for long periods of time when the weather is extreme, especially if it is hot. I know that the inside of a vehicle can heat up quickly, but we do take some precautions. If the weather is hot we always turn on both A/C units in case one goes out. (And yes, I know that doesn't help if the power to the RV goes off.) We also leave on fans, and close all the blinds to keep it cooler inside. In very cold temperatures we leave out blankets that our pet can curl up in, and we open some blinds to let sun in. Also in extreme weather we do not stay gone more than about 2 hours at a time. We know this is taking a chance, but it is not much worse than leaving them inside a house; after all power can go out there, too.

    We have traveled with both dogs and cats, and have left all of them inside unattended at one time or another. Unfortunately the dogs were yappy if someone came close to the RV so we had to be a bit more careful about leaving them. I LOVE dogs, but in my opinion cats are much easier to travel with and leave alone. They don't bark; they sleep all day; they adapt to hot and cold a little better than dogs; you don't have to come back to the RV every so often to walk them. However, if I had a dog I would still take it with us.

    I have seen camp rules that state "pets cannot be left unattended outside"; and there was one park somewhere that actually said "outside OR inside." If this is not specified I think you need to ask what the policy is. Course some places may have the rule, but overlook it as long as there is no problem. If there is a problem then they have the rule to fall back on.

    Personally I would hope that unattended means "outside." I think it is unreasonable to say pets cannot be left in the RV. As long as dogs aren't constantly barking, what harm will it cause the CG? Insurance could be a factor, but my bet is that parks that have this rule have somehow been burned in the past and just want to avoid future problems. Course it's also possible that the park owners may just be trying to protect the animals. We all know there are those that will go off in 100 degree heat and leave their pet inside with no A/C, and then, come to think of it, I guess it can cause a big problem for the CG afterall.

    Finally I wanted to pass along that I have seen a temperature alarm advertised (at Camping World?) that will call your cell phone if the temperature in your RV goes higher or lower that a specified range. It costs somewhere in the $300 range. We don't have one so I am not sure about all the operating details, and if it really works, but for those who leave their pets a lot, it might be worth it.
     
  10. BBear

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    QUOTE(abbygolden @ Aug 10 2009, 08:30 AM) [snapback]18218[/snapback]

    I disagree with BBear. Unattended to me means leaving your pets outside, either in an x-pen or on a tether, with no one around. Leaving your pets inside your RV is the same as leaving
    them in your home. It is constrained under safe conditions and conditions to which it is comfortable with (what a bad sentence construction that is!). I have no fear of leaving my dogs in my MH. I have for over 25 years with no complaints. However, if, during the in-briefing, the attendant specifies that your pet may not be left alone in your RV, or if it specifies same in a pamphlet, then I agree that is the rule in that park. I've never seen or heard that and if I did, I would go elsewhere.



    You're entitled to disagree with what I've stated and have your own opinion of what unattended means. However, if a campground simply states pets should not be left unattended, what makes you think it's only meant for the out of doors and not inside an RV...obviously if a pet is left unattended inside an RV, there's no one there, hence the pet is left unattended. Like, another poster indicated, if you're not sure what it means then ask. I would think if a campground owner means that a pet can be left unattended inside an RV, they'd make that clear.

    As for leaving your pet in an RV is the same as leaving them in your home, I would disagree with you. Your home is your property and you can do as you please when it comes to your pets. But, a campground is not your property and you shouldn't assume that you can do the same there as you would at your own home.
     
  11. MaineDon

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    I think this whole idea of "unattended" is unclear and sometimes ill thought out. The primary reason we are traveling in an RV is because of our dog, which I think is true of many RV'ers. We often refer to our fifth wheel as Dilsea's "home on wheels." And since we leave her in our house "unattended" I guess I don't see why we shouldn't do the same while in the RV. Yes, the power could go out or lightning could strike...but the same could happen at home (where we have NO a/c).

    If she is disturbing others by barking while we are gone, then that is a problem. But we've never had a report of this happening in 8 years of travel. And we've asked neighbors more than once....
    In the most extreme interpretation of this rule, my wife and I would not even be able to go to the shower room at the same time, or take a walk around the campground by ourselves w/out the dog. Or if we are in a place like Needles, CA, where the temperature was 108 degrees when we were there last May, are we to leave our dog in the car while we go grocery shopping? I don't think so. This is nuts.

    I think the "unattended" rule should be linked to a disturbance of others provision. If your dog howls or barks continually in your absence (i.e., disturbing others), then maybe he/she should be required to have an attendant. But in the absence of this, I think other risks to the pet's safety (e.g., lightning strikes, a/c failures) should be left to the discretion of the owner and not the campground personnel.
     
  12. abbygolden

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    QUOTE(BBear @ Aug 10 2009, 02:13 PM) [snapback]18224[/snapback]

    You're entitled to disagree with what I've stated and have your own opinion of what unattended means. However, if a campground simply states pets should not be left unattended, what makes you think it's only meant for the out of doors and not inside an RV...obviously if a pet is left unattended inside an RV, there's no one there, hence the pet is left unattended. Like, another poster indicated, if you're not sure what it means then ask. I would think if a campground owner means that a pet can be left unattended inside an RV, they'd make that clear.

    As for leaving your pet in an RV is the same as leaving them in your home, I would disagree with you. Your home is your property and you can do as you please when it comes to your pets. But, a campground is not your property and you shouldn't assume that you can do the same there as you would at your own home.



    Thank you for allowing me to disagree with you, as you do with me.

    As for leaving them in my MH, it IS my property, although I'm "renting" the space it is on. Again, if the park is SPECIFIC regarding their definition of "unattended", then there is no recourse. I maintain, however, that, with rare exception, it is a given by park owners that pets may be left inside an RV while their owners aren't present. If they become a nuisance (barking, for example), the owners of the park have every right to ask the RV owner to correct the problem or leave. I think a little more common sense and less histrionics are indicated here.

    I'd like to hear from westernrvparkowner and Gilda as to what they do at their parks.

    Here where I'm staying for the summer, the brochure reads, " ... No pets may be left outside of the RV unattended." The bold "outside" is my addition. I don't keep all the brochures from the places I stay but I'm reasonably sure this is a common phraseology.
     
  13. BBear

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    QUOTE(abbygolden @ Aug 10 2009, 03:04 PM) [snapback]18226[/snapback]

    Thank you for allowing me to disagree with you, as you do with me.

    As for leaving them in my MH, it IS my property, although I'm "renting" the space it is on. Again, if the park is SPECIFIC regarding their definition of "unattended", then there is no recourse. I maintain, however, that, with rare exception, it is a given by park owners that pets may be left inside an RV while their owners aren't present. If they become a nuisance (barking, for example), the owners of the park have every right to ask the RV owner to correct the problem or leave. I think a little more common sense and less histrionics are indicated here.

    I'd like to hear from westernrvparkowner and Gilda as to what they do at their parks.

    Here where I'm staying for the summer, the brochure reads, " ... No pets may be left outside of the RV unattended." The bold "outside" is my addition. I don't keep all the brochures from the places I stay but I'm reasonably sure this is a common phraseology.



    I agree your motorhome is YOUR property, but the campground isn't. Thus, the reason why the campground owners are the ones responsible for posting rules, regulations and policies and not you, the renter.

    Where you're staying now, I believe spells it out what their policy is and they make it clear that they are concerned with pets being left outside unattended. However, if a campground owner makes the broad statement in their rules that pets should not be left unattended and is not specific it leads me to believe it doesn't matter whether it's outdoor or indoors and if that presumption is wrong then I believe the campground owner needs to be more specific in their wording.

    My whole thing with this is, it only takes one person and it's probably already been done to have something happen to their pet while they're gone and they blame and sue the campground owner because of it. I certainly don't blame the campground owners for not wanting to be responsible for such and wouldn't have a problem with those who absolutely would not allow pets to be in an RV while the owners of the pets are not on the premises.
     
  14. noreaster

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    As a long time campground manager, here's my take: "unattended" means left alone, period. It includes outside, tied to a tree, in a screen room, inside, in a closet etc. "unattended outside" means the dog must be indoors when no one is around. I beleive Webster will agree. Our rules state simply, "Unattended". The practical application I use is: if I don't know the dog is inside a camper then I don't know of a violation. The problem comes to a head when someone leaves and the dog barks, and barks and barks. The neighboring campers now look to the campground to do something. What, I don't know. We cannot break into a camper to retrieve an animal. We can try to call the owners. Typically we have to wait until they return. In many areas that could mean 10 or 11 pm. In the mean time, the neighbors are busy blaming the campground for not enforcing the rules and failing to quiet the dog. Then, when the campers do arrive it's always, "Not my precious..." In the end, because someone decided "unattended" doesn't apply to them, the campground now has both the dog's owners mad at them and all their neighbors mad at them as well. I have asked several campers to leave, without refund, for leaving their dog(s) unattended and bothering the neighbors. If I find you left a dog in your RV when you left, it's because the dog announced its presence. When you return, and I have been dealing with your neighbors for the past 12 hours as they are now demanding refunds and to speak to the owner, my mother and anyone else they can think of (including rvparkreviews) about how poorly run the park is, you can bet you will see me, and it won't be pleasant.

    Our rules, like most campgrounds, are based on common sense, common decency and the all present lawyers/insurance companies. The rules are in place for a number of reasons, including providing a defensible position in a court of law as well as ensuring the safety, security and comfort of all patrons to the facility. While I understand that RV is your home, you are not the one that is going to take all of the bad PR from your actions, the campground is. Unless you own the lot, you are guest at someone else's property and the expectation should be, from everyone, to behave as a guest and recognize that you are not alone in a campground.

    Dog owners know if their dogs are barkers or not. Yes, there are kids on bicycles riding around. Yes, other dog owners are going to walk their pets by your camper. Yes, a thunderstorm may pass overhead. Yes, I can keep going. All good reasons to make other arrangements, before something happens. If not for the campground, how about for your fellow campers.

    Try to keep common sense in the camping world and leave the hair-splitting to the lawyers.
     
  15. Butch

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    An answer to the pet problems is ban them from the campground......simple. We have a dog, and if not allowed, we make other arrangements, or just go elsewhere.
     
  16. fpresto

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    Unattended = ADJECTIVE: 1. Not being attended to, looked after, or watched; 2. Having no attendants; 3. Not being paid attention to or listened to.
    I don't see what the confusion is. It is simple English. If you are not there by definition the pet is unattended.
     
  17. Texasrvers

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    I don't think the problem is the definition, but rather how strictly the rule is applied. I can understand that "unattended" would mean pet owners should not go off on an eight hour day trip, but do most reasonable CG owners really intend for people to go the showers one at a time just so their pet is not left alone for 10-20 minutes? As someone else said, a little common sense is needed here.

    BTW, noreaster, I think you did a great job explaining the park's side.
     
  18. riggarob

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    Well, I'll add this. Last fall, at a CG we frequent, there is an "unattended" policy. While I was setting up, the neighbors 2 dogs barked for 4 hours straight (cool, no AC, windows open). My wife got tired of it, and high-lighted the rule, and taped it to their door. While she was doing this, the owners came back, and we got into a bit of a tiff. "MY dogs DO NOT BARK" !! Well, fortunately, enough of the other campers had heard it, too. The manager came, and he explained that "unattended" meant just that. They go w/ you, or you stay there. Kinda an uncomfortable situation, BUT, everyone else thanked us for it, as they had been there longer, but didn't want to "rock the boat". Sometimes you can only take so much. Oh, they left the next day, "Non-barking dogs" and all. Robbie
     
  19. RockHound

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    Well nicki, I bet you didn't think you would spark such a heated debate. I just wanted to touch on a couple more points. I don't believe leaving your dog in your house is the same as leaving him/her in a camper or motor home. Houses are larger and better insulated. If they are being air conditioned, it takes them longer to get hot enough to harm an animal if the power goes out. This extra insulation also helps your neighbors if you have a barker. As far as the meaning of "unattended", you just have to make sure you ask the campground BEFORE you arrive. If possible, get the rules in print before arriving. I'm sure we have all been given incorrect information on the phone by a new or uninformed person taking reservations. If the "unattended" part of the rules seems vague, ask them to be specific. Don't try to avoid the subject and hope it won't come up, or get there and try to use the excuse 'well, no one told me" or "it doesn't say that specifically". Once you find out the exact rule on this, you will have to decide to go somewhere else if you don't like these rules, take your pets everywhere with you, or try to get by with breaking the rules and risk getting kicked out. It seems like common sense, but it's their campground and their rules. Just a comment about the shower issue, and leaving the pet in the camper while going to the showers. We have kids. They are older now, so this isn't as much of an issue. When they were younger, if they didn't need a shower, but my wife and I wanted to take one, we took turns between going to the bathhouse and watching the kids. Seems similar to the pet situation of a strict "unattended pet" policy campground. To those single people camping with pets, you might as well get a backpack style child carrier, put a bonnet on that pets head, and call him baby, because you are in trouble. :D
     
  20. Mrakovich

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    I think it is up to the specific campground to make their definition of unattended clear in their policy. If the policy simply is "do not leave your pet unattended" I would think they meant at all period. But I do see how people think that leaving their pets inside their camper does not count as being unattended.

    A campground that we normally frequent has this policy:
    "Please do not tie up pets at site and leave them unattended." So I would assume that meant outdoors, but yet others might think it also applies to inside a camper.

    Our Campground (I work for a company that has many different Hospitality properties, one of them being a campground) states in their rules:
    "When your pet is outside it must be supervised at all times."

    I think the best bet would be to call or e-mail the specific campground and ask them to interpret their rules if you have any doubt about them. :)
     

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