Jack Hardwick, a lawyer for the hotel at 311 Old Santa Fe Trail, said the hotel's policy is to admit seeing-eye dogs, but an inexperienced clerk confused that policy with its no-pets rule.

Chadow, 45, a teacher at the California School for the Blind in Fremont, Calif., who has limited vision in one eye and none in the other, said she reserved a room at Garrett's in November 2004 -- eight months before her trip to Santa Fe.

She said when she explained she would be traveling with a seeing-eye dog, the clerk told her dogs weren't allowed. When Chadow protested, she said, the clerk said the general manager would call her, but he never did.

A few days before leaving for New Mexico, Chadow said, she called Garrett's to confirm her reservation, but neither she nor the clerk mentioned the dog. She said she arrived "hot and tired" July 31, via airplane to Albuquerque and shuttle to Santa Fe, with her 9-year-old golden Labrador retriever, Patsy.

"The clerk looks up at me and said, 'Ms. Chadow, I know you have a guide dog, but we don't take dogs here. ... Our insurance company said we can't do it anymore because we've had so many dogs here soiling in the rooms,' " Chadow said.

Chadow said the clerk called the Sage Inn, formerly the Budget Inn, arranged for a room for her, then called a cab to take her there. But she said she wasn't comfortable at the Sage Inn and became frightened while walking to a nearby restaurant, so she moved to the Eldorado Hotel. But because the Eldorado couldn't accommodate her all week, she said, she had to move to the Hotel St. Francis for two nights, then return to the Eldorado.

"I was moving around like a gypsy," she said. "It was the longest week in my life. I thought to myself, 'I'm going to make up my mind to enjoy myself.' But it was tough going. ... I wound up spending twice what I wanted to spend."

Hardwick, Garrett's lawyer, said his client has offered to reimburse Chadow for the difference in price between Garrett's and the more expensive Eldorado, but she chose to pursue a formal complaint.

Chadow said the hotel offered her cash to drop her complaint, but she cannot discuss the proposed settlement. She has not sued the hotel. Her lawyer, Roger Michener of Placitas, declined comment. But according to a letter Chadow faxed to The New Mexican, the Human Rights Division of the state Department of Labor issued a determination of probable cause Feb. 22.

The New Mexico Assistance Animal Act says, "A qualified assistance animal shall be admitted to any building open to the public. ... No person shall be required to pay any additional charges for the qualified assistance animal, but shall be liable for any damage done by the qualified assistance animal." It says violations constitute a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Chadow said a San Francisco restaurant once refused to let her take her dog inside, telling her that dogs might urinate on the floor, so she sued and won a settlement. Another time, when a Fremont, Calif., grocery-store clerk denied entrance to Patsy, she said, "I just stood there and yelled at the top of my lungs, 'You go ahead and call the police!' I felt like Rosa Parks. ... Then another clerk came out and said 'Oh, no, you don't have to leave.' "

She said people she met during her stay in Santa Fe were sympathetic to her predicament, and she plans to return someday to the Santa Fe Opera, but she believes "the people of Santa Fe need to be aware that this has happened."

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