Smells like a zoo in here

by Baylen Linnekin on September 24, 2008

A Miami area maid is suing her employer, Hampton Inn, in federal court there, claiming she was forced to clean up after hotel guests who defecated and urinated on floors, left feathers strewn about, and emitted allergenic dander. The guests included “Maya the spider monkey, Bob the alligator, Tango the Macaw”, and two lemurs, along with their human handlers. The multispecies group all stayed at the Hampton Inn at Miami Airport hotel for about a week while in town as part of a traveling zoo.

Interesting notes about the case include 1) a filing showing a training manual created by Busch Gardens, which had hired the traveling zoo, sensibly suggesting animal handlers “[b]ook a room near an ice machine when on the road with penguins”; and 2) plaintiff Arlin Valdez-Castillo’s claim to have been kidnapped and driven to a cemetery by two men who pressured her to drop the lawsuit. (Douglas Hanks, “Traveling zoo at hotel made me sick, maid says”, Miami Herald, Sept. 24).

{ 10 comments }

1 matt 09.24.08 at 4:33 pm

not to be rude but im gonna assume shes new to cleaning up after others, give her another year then she will have some stories lol

2 Todd Rogers 09.24.08 at 4:53 pm

Defense lawyers want Judge Shelby Highsmith to throw out the case partly based on court precedents that animal owners face liability only if their charges attack (such as a dog bite) rather than simply perform natural functions (such as spider monkey droppings). I often draw on the scorpion in my examples. Would these guys claim that a scorpion stinging someone (presumably in defense) un-natural? Something about a “natural functions” argument makes me kind of suspicious.

3 Mark Biggar 09.24.08 at 6:49 pm

And what does she define as “force”? I assume no-one stood over her with a shotgun until she did the clean-up. If all it was her supervisor saying “do your job, clean it up or quit” then how is that force?

4 Barry Nordin 09.24.08 at 9:54 pm

There’s a big difference between cleaning up after humans who MIGHT urinate and defecate on room surfaces and unhouse-broken animals who are GUARANTEED to do so. If a hotel is going to allow animals to inhabit guest space, they should make the animal handlers either clean up themselves or arrange for someone to clean up for them.
And I assume from Mark Biggar’s comment that he must be a boss of some kind.

5 gitarcarver 09.24.08 at 11:28 pm

If a hotel is going to allow animals to inhabit guest space, they should make the animal handlers either clean up themselves or arrange for someone to clean up for them.

That’s part of the dispute. The handbook for the handlers say that if the animal urinates or defacates while “playing” and outside the cage, the handlers should clean it up.

In addition, But Migdalia Gonzalez, another Hampton Inn maid, said in a deposition that she encountered an ”unpleasant” smell and plenty of feathers and bird food while cleaning up the rooms, but no feces, fur or visible urine.

Of course, I am still having problems with the mental image of an alligator “playing” in a hotel room.

“Here Al…… Fetch!”

6 Bill Poser 09.25.08 at 1:36 am

Of course, I am still having problems with the mental image of an alligator “playing” in a hotel room.

On the basis of my having seen “Crocodile Dundee”, my guess is that it involves wrestling.

7 matt 09.25.08 at 5:30 pm

barry at the risk of being disgusting im going to assume youve never cleaned up after other humans (i have worked retail cleaning bathrooms and a animal shelter cleaning after dogs) trust me the dogs are cleaner!!!!

8 Barry Nordin 09.26.08 at 10:39 am

Try working in a zoo. I’ve owned dogs and cats by the dozen. One elephant in one month contibutes enough excrement to equal everything my animals did in all the time I had them.

9 matt 09.27.08 at 11:04 am

thats true but i still say humans are dirtier =p

10 marlen 12.09.08 at 8:47 am

assuming is so easy because its not your family or somveeone you love, this lady probably have worked in hotels for many years, don’t asumme when you dont know. i once live with someone that have a dog and he use to sleep with the dog and only for that matter i got a tremendous rash, i had to go to the doc and also i do not believe the idea that animals are cleaner than humans. Come on, that bed was a mess because the dog clean his butt on the sheet every day that was really disgusting i believe that humans that live with animals and let that happens they are dirtier than animals.Please dont compare humans to animals.

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