On a recent trip to the JW Marriott Sahar Mumbai I was an unfortunate witness to one of the most distressing things I have seen in my life. I am a Plat Elite + Ambassador Rewards and I obviously know the Marriott brand very well.
In India and other parts of Asia, Marriott hotel employ dog handlers/sniffer dogs to sniff cars and motorbikes for, I assume explosives and drugs, yet I would bet my life that these dogs are not professionally trained, but mascots/proxy security symbols to make people feel "safe". They are often poorly cared for, poorly treated and look very much worse for wear. Being an unashamed animal lover, I often would expect the best when seeing these animals employed at entry points of Marriott Hotels.
2 days ago, whilst parking my motorbike in the basement of the JW Marriott Sahar Mumbai I heard a dog barking. Not thinking too much about it, I continued to park my motorbike and turn off the engine. It was then I could hear, very clearly, it wasnt a bark but more a gasping yelp that made my heart drop. The noise I could hear coming from behind an enclosed pen in the corner of the carpark made my skin crawl, it was terrifying and it was the sounds of an animal in incredible pain and intense torture. It wasnt so much the yelp and pained cry for help that caught my attention but the intermittent "whack/slap" of what sounded like a leather strap in synergy with the dogs cries and fearful yelps.
As I looked into the pen, there was a dog handler, who only 30 mins earlier had been working at the front of the hotel checking cars entering the hotel, hitting, which is an understatement, this defenseless cowering 6 -12 month old Labrador. In hindsight I wished I had gone in there and stopped him, but I was frozen to the spot. This attack on the puppy continued for 3-4 minutes, the dog handler only stopped because it looked like he stained his shoulder laying into this puppy. He was covered in sweat - and as he kicked the puppy out of the pen and throw him into another pen and shut the door, he hung up his leather belt and then lay down, tee shirt over this head and went to sleep, as if it was like making a cup of tea or turning off the lights. It was one of the most distressing things I have ever seen.
I also have footage of the whole thing and am seriously thinking about putting it online.
I went upstairs and told the front office manager immediately and was told they would handle it tomorrow. I was nearly in tears but that didnt seem to make a difference to the staff.
In the morning, there was little change to the urgency of the matter, I was expecting the dog handler to be reprimanded or laid off as a minimum; but nothing was done. The head of security was apparently waiting for me in the afternoon for 3 hours but strangely never called my room or asked to talk , then when I tried to find him on my own accord, he had "gone" home. Unfortunately, my concern for humane treatment of animals was seen as more of an inconvenience by the management and I found that absolutely deplorable.
You did nothing to address this or stop this happening again and it showed that Marriott, not taking this seriously, allows this animal abuse to be "par for the course and acceptable on the grounds of their hotels. The way human beings treat animals is a direct reflection of their values of compassion and kindness. In this situation, I am extremely disappointed that Marriott have no HEART.
I will not stay at Marriott India or any other Marriott that employs dog handlers until this is addressed.