SHOULD DOGS BE ALLOWED IN THE LOUNGE ON FERRIES?
Fogo Island native looking for more options for pet friendly travel on ferry
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.
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.