Fogo Is­land na­tive look­ing for more op­tions for pet friendly travel on ferry

The Central Voice - - Front Page - BY ADAM RAN­DELL Adam.ran­[email protected]­cen­

After spend­ing an hour on the deck of a ferry, in mi­nus seven de­gree Cel­sius weather be­cause her dog wasn’t al­lowed in the lounge, Pa­tri­cia Rowe says a more suit­able so­lu­tion could have been found.

Rowe left Fogo Is­land on Dec. 26 after vis­it­ing fam­ily in Sel­dom Come By on the 2 p.m. com­bined cross­ing.

Her boyfriend was wait­ing for her at Far­well — the main­land por­tion of the cross­ing — to pick her up, so she walked on board with Bella, a six-year-old York­shire Ter­rier.

With­out a ve­hi­cle or a ken­nel, she didn’t have any­where to keep the six-pound dog. So, she wrapped Bella in a scarf and car­ried her in her arms to the lounge.

“I sat down, just got si­t­u­ated, maybe there for five or six min­utes, when a crew mem­ber ap­proached me, asked me to go out­side,” she said, stat­ing there was no ex­pla­na­tion given be­yond pets weren’t al­lowed in the lounge.

Ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works, other than ser­vice or as­sis­tance an­i­mals, no pets are al­lowed in the lounge area of any pro­vin­cial ferry due to al­lergy con­cerns.

As a re­sult, Rowe spent a chilly hour out­side, in mi­nus seven de­gree Cel­sius weather, on an open deck, Bella wrapped in a scarf in her arms. Pas­sen­gers of­fered her blan­kets to try and keep warm, with oth­ers of­fer­ing their ve­hi­cles to sit in. How­ever, trav­ellers aren’t per­mit­ted in their ve­hi­cles dur­ing a cross­ing.

“It was freez­ing,” she said. “I was in Gander (an hour away) and I was still try­ing to warm up.”

More op­tions needed

In an emailed state­ment Trans­porta­tion and Works said pets are not per­mit­ted in the pas­sen­ger lounges due to pas­sen­gers with al­ler­gies, but ex­cep­tions are made for as­sis­tance dogs and ser­vice dogs for pas­sen­gers with dis­abil­i­ties.

Trans­porta­tion and Works said there are mea­sures in place for those trav­el­ling with pets, but it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the owner.

“Pets may be stowed safely in the pas­sen­ger’s ve­hi­cle or may be stowed in a pas­sen­ger-pro­vided ken­nel and placed in a des­ig­nated area on the ve­hi­cle deck,” read the state­ment.

Rowe, a Fogo Is­land na­tive, said the op­tion of ken­nel stor­age isn’t widely known.

“I didn’t even know that was an op­tion,” she said.

Rowe feels some­thing needs to be done to make fer­ries more ac­com­mo­dat­ing for an­i­mals.

“I’d just like to be able to know I can walk on with my dog and have a warm safe place to go, whether that be a des­ig­nated side (of the two lounge area) or a des­ig­nated room,” she said.

She is in the process of reach­ing out to her MHA to make in­quiries about what can be done to im­prove pet trans­porta­tion op­tions on the ferry.

Pet travel

The Cen­tral Voice looked into other trans­porta­tion ser­vices to see how pets are ac­com­mo­dated.

Ma­rine At­lantic al­lows trav­ellers to keep pets in ve­hi­cles dur­ing a cross­ing as well, but has an on­board ken­nel ser­vice. All pets must be trans­ported to the ken­nel stor­age area in­side a pet travel car­rier.

While there are a num­ber of con­di­tions that have to be met, both West Jet and Air Canada al­low pets to be trans­ported in the cabin of a plane, in a car­rier.

“Re­gard­ing al­ler­gies we do our best to ac­com­mo­date guests with al­ler­gies, how­ever, we can­not guar­an­tee an al­lergy free en­vi­ron­ment,” read a state­ment from West Jet. “Ad­di­tion­ally, if a guest is trav­el­ling with a cat on a flight where a guest with a se­vere al­lergy to cat dan­der is also trav­el­ling, the guest trav­el­ling with the pet may be re­quired to move to­ward the rear of the air­craft to meet the Cana­dian Trans­porta­tion Agency’s seat­ing sep­a­ra­tion re­quire­ment. Guests are no­ti­fied of this in ad­vance.”


The Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion and Works says pets aren’t al­lowed in the lounge ar­eas of pro­vin­cial fer­ries be­cause of al­lergy con­cerns.


Gander res­i­dent Pa­tri­cia Rowe and Bella, her six-year-old York­shire Ter­rier took a one-hour win­ter ferry cross­ing from Fogo Is­land to Far­well, Dec. 26, on deck in mi­nus seven de­gree Cel­sius weather be­cause the dog wasn’t al­lowed in the lounge.

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