Police officers get a bed bug rude awakening in New Mexico

by nobugsonme on September 30, 2008 · 4 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs in hotels

KOB.com in New Mexico reports,

Tuesday’s Farmington Daily-Times reports three Santa Fe Police Department employees who recently stayed at the hotel had bug bites all over their bodies.

They say hotel managers told them “it was not the hotel’s problem.”

Not the hotel’s problem? Whose problem is it?

That is a delightful response to a customer complaint of blood-sucking insects in a bed paid for for the night. The hotel has assigned a new manager to this Days Inn, but that hardly solves the problem of guests having to put up with bed bugs.

Apparently, there’s no one to complain to:

The police officers also discovered that no state agency has authority to do anything about the problem.

That is a very distressing statement.

The Daily Times of Farmington reports
that State Sen. William E. Sharer, R-San Juan notes this is not the first time bed bugs were found in this Days Inn:

“During the summer of 2007, I was informed of a bedbug infestation occurring at the Days Inn in Farmington,” Sharer wrote to Albert Vigil, secretary of New Mexico Department of Health, on Feb. 5. “Unfortunately, a second incident has recently occurred at the same motel.

Sharer expressed frustration that “no governmental agency has clear authority to regulate this issue because there are presently no enforceable standards.”

No enforceable standards? Governments can set enforceable standards regarding bed bugs in homes and hotels.

I hope the people of New Mexico, and those who travel there, will start asking their politicians about this. They might start by writing to State Senator Sharer himself.

Update (10/1/2008):

More from the Daily Times today.

Apparently a lawsuit was already pending, filed by four plaintiffs who claim to have been bitten by bed bugs in the same hotel in summer 2007. Their attorney, Rich Valle, says the two sets of two clients were staying on different floors in the hotel and met at a local urgent care center, after seeking treatment for their bites.

Valle claims the hotel got what seems to be sound advice about treating for bed bugs, but didn’t take it:

A local exterminator recommended the hotel treat rooms adjacent to those in which the 2007 bug biting incidents happened, Valle said. He estimated the cost of the additional treatment at $150, a charge Valle said hotel managers opted not to pay because they deemed it excessive.

Days Inn management offered one of his clients a “bed bug discount” after he complained, Valle said. A similar $15 per bug discount was offered to the police officers after they took a bug to the front desk clerk working Sept. 21.

“I hope some of this changes,” Valle said. “I hoped our lawsuit would make this stop.”

Before Valle read a related story in Tuesday’s edition and contacted The Daily Times, a woman identifying herself only as “Bernice” called the newspaper to say she sustained bites at the same hotel about one year ago.

“I tried to contact the hotel manager, but I never heard back,” she said. “I finally gave up.”

No regulations exist to oversee cleanliness issues at lodging establishments in New Mexico. Unless a lodging business is a member of New Mexico Lodging Association, consumers have nowhere to turn for redress.

Let’s not think for a moment that this particular hotel is the only one with bed bug infestations that are being allowed to get worse and worse.

This can happen in any hotel, chain or family-run, expensive or cheap.

Obviously, the hotel industry needs guidance about bed bugs, and what is required to get rid of them. And if no one on the government end of things gives a hoot, citizens are not only going to increasingly get bitten by bed bugs, they’re increasingly going to bring them home.

1 nobugsonme October 1, 2008 at 10:32 pm

Updated today with signifiant new content. See above!

2 nobugsonme October 3, 2008 at 7:27 pm

Another woman was bitten by bed bugs in an unnamed motel in Las Cruces, New Mexico a week ago, KOAT channel 7 in Albuquerque reported yesterday. She also found there was no one to complain to. She told KOAT news:

“I think there should be some department you can call and let them know where you stayed and let them know how many bites you had, what your symptoms are,” she said.

The State Department of Health said in New Mexico, there’s not a state agency that oversees lodging and that no one but hotel staff checks sheets and pillows for bugs.

Action 7 News contacted the hotel where Dally stayed. The owner said quality control is very important to him and that an exterminator has already fixed the problem.

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