Captain Morse House Tuck Of Tuckerman Ravine Our Family Dog 1992 2016 Img 1945 Tuck

Animals at the Captain Morse House

We love animals and would love for everybody to bring them. Unfortunately, some people are allergic to animals and some owners do not manage their animals as well as they should.  A busy vacation rental with back-to-back guests means extra cleaning and extra risks for the home where animals are involved. For this and other reasons we advise against bringing pets or animals to Martha’s Vineyard due to the presence of skunks, ticks, and fleas. Ticks and Fleas use dogs as a way to transfer onto humans in the home. This is a serious matter due to Lyme disease which is carried by the deer tick. Deer ticks are about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. Skunks are very prevalent. Animals should not be off leash at night. A sprayed animal cannot under any circumstances come into the house and must be lodged in your car or off premises.

Recently we have had guests show up with an animal and claim it is an assistance animal. This sort of surprise is not allowed. You MUST declare the presence of any animal during the booking process and before you sign the lease.

A few years ago, for the safety and comfort of ALL of our guests, our policy was to not allow animals of any kind or for any purpose in the house. After Covid, everyone has gotten an animal so we have had to adopt a more lenient policy. Nevertheless, we are sure that your animal(s) will be more comfortable at home with a sitter or in a quality facility. If you really can’t live without them accompanying you on your trip please read further.

Our lease now works for pets in the following way. If you do not declare and pay a fee for your animals they are not allowed.

Summary of rules included in the Animal clause that is activated with payment are as follows.

  • Pets cannot be left unattended in the house at any time and must be crated in the evening from 10pm to 7am
  • Animals are not allowed above the first-floor level or in the basement
  • A receipt provided by fax to 888-675-3294 or by email to info@captainmorsehouse.com is required showing that
    – your animal (if applicable) has been professionally groomed and nails (if any) have been clipped within one week of the visit to the house.
    – your animal is using an ongoing treatment for fleas and ticks such as Bravecto (prescription), Frontline, Advantage or Seresto. For more Click Here

Consider your health and your animal’s health before you bring them to the island. Lyme disease is no joke. 

Animals that come to the house without a Pet Fee paid are a violation of the lease and result in the loss of your entire security deposit, additional costs for cleaning, and possible eviction.

Airbnb (and other 3rd Party Bookings) Policy and Service / Emotional Support Animals

According to AirBNB Policy
“Guests are not required to disclose the presence of an assistance animal before booking”
Our response: The presence of an animal at the residence shall be considered a violation of the lease and security deposit shall be forfeit and result in additional costs for cleaning and possible eviction.

“Airbnb’s Nondiscrimination Policy, hosts cannot charge extra fees to guests with an assistance animal.” See above.

“Airbnb recognizes that some jurisdictions may require prohibitions on all animals, including assistance animals, and we do not require hosts to violate local laws or take actions that may subject them to legal liability.”
Landlord considers the presence of an animal a potential liability and danger to follow on guests where the next guest may have a severe allergy. Allergies are common among our renters. Ticks and Fleas are prevalent on Martha’s Vineyard and we cannot have the liability of allowing animals to bring them in on their fur. Lyme disease is a major worry and can be carried by ticks AND fleas.

Following is Airbnb statement NOT allowing landlord to inquire about a animal. Landlord will not ask these questions.

Is it okay to request documentation for an assistance animal?

Airbnb does not require documentation when traveling with an assistance animal. In the United States, guests are not required to provide documentation for a service animal and there is no legally recognized certification process for service animals. Where a guest indicates that he/she has a service animal, a host may ask:

  1. Whether the assistance animal is required because of a disability
  2. What work or task the animal has been trained to perform

– END –

Airbnb is stating this in order to not run afoul of the American with Disabilities Act. The issue revolves around whether a vacation rental is a public accommodation or a private residence where 4 or fewer units do not have to follow the ADA. You can imagine how treating VRs as Hotels with lighted exit signs and handicap accessible bathrooms would effect the industry. There would be a lot less VRs available for you to rent. 
If an animal can be qualified as either an assistance animal or a service animal requiring a reasonable accommodation, then it’s not considered to be a pet. As such, pet fees and deposits may not apply. Let us know if your animal is an assistance animal.

If you do bring  an assistance animal into a vacation rental that still does not absolve you of the responsibility to make sure that your animal obeys the rules. If your animal causes damage you will still need to pay for the damages. 

What about pet certification sites

Be aware of these scams:

Their is no such thing as a animal certification or national registry for assistance animals. In 2010 websites started issuing certificates and fancy vests for a fee. These are a rip off and do not work. Examples of the include www.unitedservicedog.com, www.usserviceanimals.org, www.emotionalpetsupport.com, www.servicedogcertifications.org

Some links to explore



The bottom line is that if your animal is specifically trained to do a task that is medically necessary (years of training by the way) then you do not need a certificate to prove that. People that try and pass off their pets as service animals are only making it harder for people with legitimate needs to gain access to vacation rentals.

Risks of allowing a pet in a vacation rental

Be aware of the risks:

•    Allergies and asthma levels have risen dramatically recently, especially in kids, and for each of the tenants who search for a pet-friendly home, there is another who requires a pet-free one. (Naturally, if your pet already frequents the house, your home wouldn’t be dander-free anyway.)

•    The common concern for homeowners is for their furnishings that are vulnerable to the damage that dogs can cause. 

•    But another issue is your lawn and yard. It’s imperative, of course, that your tenants clean up any piles left by their dogs, but what about the brown spots in your grass caused by the urine? These are particularly insidious because they don’t appear until a week or two after the culprit has left – and there’s no quick and easy fix.

•    By far the worst risk, though, is that of fleas. Although most dogs and cats are treated to prevent fleas and ticks, an infestation in your home can be disastrous, necessitating immediate extermination treatment and the risk of rendering your home uninhabitable for your next tenants.

One option is to allow pets but require an additional (either refundable or non-refundable) pet deposit. Also, be sure to inform your tenants of the pet policy on the local beaches. Often pets are banned on beaches between Memorial Day until after Labor Day or longer. In the off-season, many more Cape & Islands beaches allow pets.