The purpose of this policy is to create a space in which disabled kinksters, specifically those with service dogs*, can be safe and their dogs can adequately do their jobs. Service dogs are trained to mitigate their handler’s disabilities and make the conference safe and accessible; essentially leveling the “playing” field.
The Fetish Fair Fleamarket public spaces follow similar rules to the American Disabilities Act (ADA) regarding non-human animals. Public spaces include all vending areas (including vendor row rooms), classrooms, food service spaces, lobbies, hallways, bathrooms, and stairs/elevators. The only space not considered public within the Crowne Plaza is a private room that you are staying in.
NELA defines animals in three distinct ways and has distinct rules for each as follows:
- Service animals are dogs and miniature horses* as defined by the ADA and include service-dogs-in-training:
- Service animals are allowed in all public and attendee private spaces within the Crowne Plaza as well as within the Holiday Inn Express and Hilton Garden Inn.
- Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain constant control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.
- Pets include traditional domesticated** animals/pets, companion animals, emotional support animals, and therapy animals:
- Pets are not allowed in any public space.
- Please respect and center service dogs and teams by creating space, controlling your animal, and ensuring that you are quickly and efficiently escorting your pet outside for waste relief only.
- Pets, with their handler, that need to be escorted outside for waste relief may not use the main elevators or main staircases (please use the rear elevators or rear staircases only). They must only use the service animal relief area with access from the first floor hallway (near the Self-Care Suite and Volunteer HQ).
- Participants with pets need to cede the ‘right of way’ to service dog teams including physically creating distance in hallways and elevators and maintaining strict (ie: short-leash) control of their pets at all times.
- Human-animals (domesticated or not!) of all varieties and breeds:
- Human-animals are welcome in all areas of the Flea provided that they follow all general Flea rules.
- Additionally, human-animals must follow all pet policies in centering service dog teams and should refrain from activities such as barking at, attempting to play with, or interacting with service dogs.
Additional policies for all animals:
- Animals that are out of control (including but not limited to: lunging or aggression, destruction of property, off-leash and not adhering to owner cues/commands, or uncontrolled bodily functions) may be asked to take a break in their private room or leave the event.
- Multiple issues may result in ejection from the event.
- The hotel(s) may reserve the right to remove an animal or charge the owner in case of damage.
- If your animal is experiencing a medical situation, please contact MECS (857-293-0309); there may be a trained volunteer available to help.
The sounds, smells, and other kinky happenings are very difficult for animals to understand; an animal who is normally friendly may become stressed or agitated and lash out unexpectedly or experience a loss of control of bodily functions in these situations. Due to this, NELA highly recommends that even though our hotels are pet friendly (with required deposits) that you do not bring your pets or emotional support animals to the Flea.
NELA thanks you for respecting the needs of our disabled community members in following the above policy. If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Accessibility Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
* While we know that miniature horses are also considered service animals under the ADA, we also recognize that the vast majority of service animals are dogs.
** Wild animals are not domesticated and are not allowed on the premises. Polar bears, racoons, and whales are lovely, but don’t belong at the Flea. For policies on mythical creatures, please email us directly. 🙂