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Woman Stirs Drama After Calling Out What She Believes Is A Fake Service Dog At Grocery Store

Jennifer Blount/GettyImages

Sometimes we’re all compelled to call out truth and lies.

It can be a curse and a bad habit.

Or it can be the absolute right thing to do.

It can all depend on your delivery.

Case in point…

Redditor HopeIncarnate to discuss her story for some feedback. So naturally she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for pointing out a fake ‘service dog?'”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“Hey everyone. So I’ll make this quick and cut to the chase.”

“I (27 F[emale] pregnant) was at Walmart with my husband (30 M[ale]) when we decided to go through the fruit isle.”

“There was a small cluster of people talking with a lady who had a large poodle (dang they get BIG!) with a red service dog vest on it.”

“The vest had no handle, no patches or a card on it.”

“But I don’t know much about what they require on their vests so I can’t say if it was missing anything or if it was fine.”

“In all honesty I only have a vague understanding about service dogs.”

“Enough to know not to bother them.”

“The problem was that as we veered our cart around the small crowd the service dog was all over the place.”

“Sniffing people’s carts, putting it’s paws on the cart baskets, just a little out of control.”

“Wasn’t aggressive at all!”

“Not mean or anything.”

“But the dog was definitely tugging on that leash as hard as he could cause he was excited and confused.”

“At first I thought ‘Okay, he’s probably in training and he’s an early bird to the game.'”

“I’ve seen videos of some service dogs being trained publicly like that, which is understandable to me.”

“But as we went past the crowd the dog turned to me and I didn’t look at it or engage with it because I know that’s wrong and distracting.”

“Even though I turned to my husband, the dog barked and jumped on me.”

“No harm! Wasn’t mean or biting.”

“Everything was fine, until the lady yelled at me and said ‘You’re too close to my service dog! You’re distracting him.'”

“I replied ‘With the way he’s behaving I’m inclined to think otherwise, I don’t think that’s a real service dog.'”

“She complained and got staff to come over and talk to us, and we gave them the story, and the lady with the dog was asked to leave.”

“Was I the a**hole?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

It’s a tricky situation.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“NTA. Fake service dogs put real service dogs and their handlers at risk.”

“And frankly, it’s gross, unsanitary, and unhygienic to have untrained dogs (and non-service dogs) that close to food that’s intended for human consumption.”  ~Impossible_Zebra8664

“Thats nasty, I once saw this girl at supercenter carrying a pet rat, one of the gray ones.”

“Inside the produce area and she was handling produce with rat in one hand with other produce, back and forth.”

“It was like disgusting.”

“I was like welp no produce shopping today.”  ~ IllustriousValue9907

“NTA Most of us in the disability community believe there should be a crackdown on fake service dogs.”

“Also, that emotional support animals should have the same community training as service dog.”

“I was in whole foods one time when a lady with a fake service dog was letting it eat off the buffet as she was filling a container for herself.”

“And it was a small dog so she was holding it up with one arm so it could reach it’s favorite foods.”

“They had to throw out the whole buffet.”  ~ Fantastic_Nebula_835

“It sounds like you made an off-the-cuff remark.”

“SHE flipped out and went to management, and that’s what led to her being kicked out.”

“For the totally legitimate reason that she brought a dog where it wasn’t allowed.”

“And lied about the reason for it in a way that makes it harder for actually disabled people to have the support they need.”

“And then made management aware of the whole thing.”

“I’m not sure how entitled one has to be to not only have a fake service dog but then to think it makes sense to escalate the situation rather than to just ignore your comment and walk away.”

“I’m assuming you weren’t chasing her down to turn her in (although you’d probably still be NTA if you had).”  ~ ViscountBurrito

“NTA for very specific reasons.”

“Service animals are trained to behave a certain way and if it was in training, the owner would have been correcting the behavior and apparently wasn’t.”

“Vests are NOT required but recommended.”

“If it wasn’t for #1, you would be TA.”

“What makes this situation even worse is the employees are required to accept the customers statements as if the animal is a service animal or not and can not kick them out for that specific reason.”

“However in this case it was justified as the dog was not behaving and was creating an issue for other patrons.”   ~ rjhan*ock

“NTA. Fake service dogs make it a lot harder for folks who actually need them.”

“While it’s definitely possible he was being trained.”

“The fact that she yelled at you instead of doing anything to actually correct the dog makes me think that’s no the case.”

“Also just for your information and assuming you’re in the USA service dogs don’t technically need to wear anything indicating they’re service dogs, they just have to be task trained.”

“Most folks just use the vests so that more people will leave them alone.”  ~ CephalopodSpy

“NTA. That was probably not a service dog.”

“If it was, she’d sue the place for kicking her out.”

“Also thank you for saying something.”

“As someone with a psychiatric service dog it’s really important to call out people who pull this s**t because it puts real service dogs in possible danger.”

“It makes life really hard for people with real service dogs when ‘nothing looks wrong with us.'”  ~ Agreeable-Owl-6269

OP responded…

“I’m really sorry for the hardships you go through with judgement. That’s not fair.”

“The most I’ll do is tell the person without looking at the dog and say that they have a cute dog.”

“Most of the time they thank me.”

“Is that okay to do or should I not do that?”

“I cant even begin to imagine how frustrating that must be, to just have people run up on you and your helper like that. I’m sorry.”

“All the best wishes to you and your furry helper!”  

Reddit continued…

“NTA. You wouldn’t believe how many dogs I see come into Walmart (while I’m working).”

“That have a vest on but are all over the place, tugging on leash, even bark.”

“I always want to say something but I never do out of fear of my job being on the line.”

“I’ve seen more dogs that are obviously fake, than I do people with real service dogs, calm, collected, and right by their owner.”

“I came across one that seemed like a guide dog, was walking on the side closest to the racks so I assume she didn’t run into anything.”

“I was even thanked for moving out of the way of the dog so she didn’t have to correct the owners direction.” ~ SnooHabits2712

“NTA. I’m a former service dog partner and a law school grad (not a practicing lawyer due to disability).”

“Even if that dog was a service dog on a bad day (which happens to the best of us, because dogs aren’t robots), it’s legal and acceptable for businesses to ask them to leave if they’re behaving disruptively.”

“I wish more people understood that.”

“Because I think it’d help make the world more receptive to us.”

“I had a terrifically well-trained partner, but even we had 1 day that was bad enough that we were asked to leave a shop.”

“Cross-country flight, and both of us were just dead tired; he got nosey around the beef jerky and I didn’t notice as fast as I should have.”

“Entirely my fault, I apologized, felt awful, and left as asked.”

“Pointing out that a dog isn’t behaving like an actual service dog helps protect the reputation of real teams.”

“And helps businesses to remember that admitting a service dog doesn’t make them powerless when things go south.”

“Both of those help real service dogs and the disabled people whose lives they improve.”  ~ KaliTheBlaze

“Perfectly stated, it’s not about real or fake, it’s about behavior.”

“If the dog is not behaving appropriately, for whatever reason (bad day, whatever) they need to leave.”

“I’m an SD (Discriminative Stimulus) handler.”

“And while I’ve never been asked to leave, I have said, ‘you know what, today’s not our day,’ and left of my own accord because my partner just wasn’t ‘with it’ that day. NTA.”  ~ DebutsPal

Sounds like you did what Reddit would’ve done.

This fake service dog situation is a problem.

Most places allow pets nowadays.

Why lie?