Service animals have always been a part of the Arisia community. They are welcome in all convention and hotel spaces, per the guidance of the ADA (https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm).
Both The Westin and the Aloft hotels have policies for people who want to bring their animals to the hotel. Both hotels permit service dogs. They also permit pets, specifically dogs under 40 lbs, and cats at The Westin. No animal may be left unattended. The hotel policies are online:
- Westin: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/westin/property/overview/announcements.html?propertyID=1528&language=en_US
- Aloft: http://www.aloftbostonseaport.com/dog-friendly-hotel-boston.
Arisia is a loud, active, and dynamic convention that has become more crowded as we have grown. Both people and animals can find that kind of environment stressful. Even well-trained animals may find the convention a challenge, which may cause them to act out and behave in unpredictable ways. This, as well as their dander and other allergens, present a serious risk to many of our attendees. Although the hotel has provisions for pet dogs and cats, we ask that our attendees consider these risks when deciding whether or not to bring pets with them to the convention this year.
We have gotten reports of animals at the convention that are not cats or dogs. We understand that some members of our community have Emotional Support Animals to help them manage anxiety and mental health. However, some of these animals may not be covered under the hotel’s policy, which puts us in conflict with the hotels. While both The Westin and the Aloft have had good working relationships with us, and in the past have been flexible about many things we do at the convention, they were purchased by Marriott. This change in management means that some policies have changed while others will be more strictly enforced, including the policy on animals in hotel rooms and convention spaces. To this end, we ask that attendees not bring animals that are outside of The Westin and Aloft policies if you are able to do so.
Registering Animals at Arisia
To gain a greater understanding of our animal population, and to help us develop a more informed animal policy, we will be registering attendees’ Animals-In-Tow, much like our Kid-In-Tow registrations. Knowing which animals belong with which attendees will help us in the event that animals get separated from their human.
You can register animals ahead of time or when you arrive at the convention by our Animal-In-Tow form. Filling out the form in advance will help speed up your visit to registration.
We understand that this is a big change and we welcome your comments. Please feel free to reach out to our Access Team at @email with any feedback, questions, or concerns.