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Posted by Catherine Knowles, Oct 3 2014 1:52PM

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Sanitation Question?

I currently am under contract (self employed) in a small salon - I have a reception area and massage room downstairs, and the salon offers all other services on an upper floor (nails primarily, but also waxing etc). The door between the floors is simply a push door, no latch or lock. The owners of the salon recently bought a puppy, and have been bringing her into work every day. The puppy isn't housebroken, and there is an ongoing problem with the dog not being taken outdoors to do her business. So she just goes wherever she feels, frequently coming downstairs to do so. I had to clean up after the dog in my own massage space multiple times, until I began keeping the door closed. Now, the "surprises" are found all over the hall and reception area downstairs, and I am (apparently) expected to clean up. I mentioned this to the owner, who laughed and said "just clean it up, what's the big deal?"

Am I being over sensitive here? I don't feel it's my job to clean up after someone else's dog, nor do I feel I should have to carefully examine the floor of space which is designated "mine" to take care of "presents" so that clients aren't the ones to find them (not to mention the smell). I'm not certain of any legal sanitation issue. Does anyone have any advice?
Angela Rawlins
Oct 3 2014 1:57PM
Surely this is a public health issue, health and safely officers will not look on this situation favourably. You may need to find new premises and report them.
Janice Hamilton
Oct 3 2014 2:24PM
I absolutely agree with Angela - you are not being too sensitive here - that is a disgusting state of affairs to come into and for you to be expected to clear it up is completely inappropriate - you are simply renting rooms and the dog is the owner's responsibility - I, personally, view this as completely unprofessional and a public health hazard - I certainly would not be happy as a client to come into these premises and as Angela says I would find new premises asap - could you operate from your home on a temporary basis until you find new premises? To be honest when I read the post at first, I wondered if it was a late April fool - protect yourself and your clients and do what is right for you.

Good luck
Janice
Janice Hamilton
Oct 3 2014 2:27PM
Sorry, I meant to say, take photos and keep a diary of what happened and how often you have approached the owner to resolve this matter so that you can give notice on your contract with the reasons why and contact the local citizens advice and local council to keep yourself right in case the owner tries to force you to stay in the contract - no-one should have to work under these circumstances.

Regards
Janice
Angela Rawlins
Oct 3 2014 2:51PM
You have to act, to protect your good reputation. Yes, make a diary and photos of events as this will make it easier for you to get out of your contract if you have one.
Nicki Lee
Oct 3 2014 3:36PM
Wow - this owner is completely clueless as to what is 1) Appropriate as a landlord, 2) Appropriate hygiene in a salon, 3) Client care, 4) Dog owner responsibility!

I honestly don't know what to say about a situation that is so ridiculous. If it the same person who is dog/salon owner and landlord, there really isn't anyone else you can appeal to 'over her head'.

I suppose there is no way to practically keep the dog out of your space with another door being closed? And I certainly consider 'your space' to be your waiting area, which you pay for.

I would try a few things; first, schedule a formal meeting with her where the two of you can privately sit down for a few minutes and explain this is not acceptable. If this doesn't work, I would suggest you look at your rental contract - is the waiting area being soiled your own area? If so, you are not having sole use of it and I would suggest discussing withholding rent as you are not able to have full use. This all seems like some formal legal advice might be needed - which is crazy because it's such a ridiculous situation for you to be in.

I wish you the very best of luck. Perhaps a mediator might be of help?
Catherine Knowles
Oct 3 2014 4:00PM
Thank you so much for all your input! I was nervous that I was over-reacting, and it's not that I don't love dogs - I DO! It's the "untrained" part, and more- the evident lack of intent to train the dog, that's been bothering me, in addition to the hygiene aspect.

I will go over my contract carefully, to make sure I'm as covered as I believe I am, but yes, making a change is definitely in the near future.
Lauraine Paterson
Oct 3 2014 4:29PM
Have any of your clients complained about this? Would any of them be willing to articulate this to the owner (keeping your own thoughts out of the scenario)? Could this be an Environmental Health issue? Maybe you should seek advice via your local authority...I would do this to safeguard yourself and your clients and you could approach them with questions only until you ascertain your rights. This situation with the dog is unsanitary and possibly infectious - and totally unacceptable. I'm sure there must be guidelines to keep animals out of salons/spas unless there is an absolute need (i.e. guide dogs).
You are obviously a kind hearted person, trying to keep the salon in order, but in no therapists contract will there be that they have to clean up dog poo! I can also sense that you wouldn't want to get the salon into trouble, but do you really want to be associated with this place?
I work from home and find the autonomy suits me perfectly. Could you do this until you find another salon that deserves to have you as part of their team?
Good luck!
Janice Hamilton
Oct 3 2014 4:31PM
Dear Catherine, the other thing that has just occurred to me is your therapist's insurance - would you be covered if you didn't notice one of these "presents" or it wasn't cleaned up properly and one of your clients slipped on it - not trying to scare you - but all of these things are really important and, as you say, you need to act sooner rather than later.
Sue Hannaford
Oct 3 2014 4:43PM
Agree with everyone who has commented already. I have rented clinic space in a variety of places over the years.This is TOTALLY unacceptable and it is, quite frankly, laughable that you should have to put up with this happening, let alone her thinking that it is okay to expect you to clear up after mess that is HER responsibility. This is NOT OKAY. (If this is her idea of hygiene I wouldn't want to have treatments anywhere in the building.) By the way, there are times that I love animals more than some people - and this is definitely a people problem - and you are not being too sensitive. She is trying to get away with it - or is an absolute slob and has no idea about anything (hygiene, customer service, professional standards etc etc). Ooooh end of the week rant over!
Neville Dalton
Oct 3 2014 5:49PM
I've never heard anything like it! Get out as soon as you can, and don't let your business be associated with such practices.

Regardless of what you think of animals, dogs on the premises are hardly conducive to relaxation in any case, but the health and safety issues are beyond a joke.

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