Pet-friendly lodging units now available

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Pet owners authorized use of the Holloman temporary lodging facility have an alternative now other than putting their furry family members in kennels off base.
Holloman billeting now features nine "pet friendly" units - and they're all rented, 49th Services Squadron members say.

"It was part of an Air Force-wide initiative to make billeting facilities more customer friendly," said Tech Sgt. Jim Fussell, lodging operations manager. "We had many requests in the past, but had to say, 'No,' (due to existing restrictions)."

Alamogordo has only three kennels and boarding starts at about $10 per day for two cats sharing a pen, according to a local kennel owner.

People who were just passing through or incoming permanent-change-of-station arrivals didn't know where to look for kennel services, he said. "Now they don't have to be separated from their 'family members,'" Sergeant Fussell remarked.

Revised rules allow up to two dogs or two cats. No exotic animals are allowed. He described "exotic" as including such critters as ferrets or snakes.

"There's an extra charge of $10 per night," Sergeant Fussell added, "to cover the cost of additional services."

The rooms boast:
· Two plastic kennels, one large enough to hold dog like a German shepherd
· Two water dishes
· Plastic bags to pick up and dispose of pets' waste.

When a unit is used by pet owners, cleaning includes extra steps to insure sanitation for subsequent guests, the sergeant explained. "We inspect more closely and even use an ultra-violet light to look for evidence of animal waste."

Cleaning is intense to remove all pet hair, he went on, so if a non-animal owner rents one of the designated units, they won't encounter any furry-occupant issues.

The pet units will also be more thoroughly inspected twice annually for fleas or other possible pests, he said.

Capt. Tom Cox, 49th Services Squadron commander, said the change came about rather quickly after long study and deliberation. After his recent arrival, he determined the change was successful at other Air Force bases. "They told us they encountered very few problems and their occupancy rates were up" after becoming pet-friendly.
So Captain Cox took the plan to Col. Mark Engeman, 49th Mission Support Group commander, for his approval.

"I've got to credit (Mr.) Don Adams (billeting manager) and his staff," the captain added. "They really 'leaned forward' tremendously to make this happen."

The first unit was equipped and rented by Nov. 1, Captain Cox said. Today they're all rented.

If a guest's pet damages anything and he or she doesn't report the damage, housekeeping staff do a careful inspection when a guest leaves. Any unreported damage is billed to the departed guest.

"So far, it's been going very well," he declared. "We've had only one problem - a chewed blanket - but the guest told us about it and paid for it on the spot."