in , ,

Redditor Balks After Woman With Service Dog Slams Them For Bringing Non-Service Dog Into Store

Marco Vacca/ Getty Images

Service animals are working and because of that they have stricter boundaries. That doesn’t mean that everyone around them needs to adjust their whole lifestyle to match them. But, it is important to respect them.

Redditor Miserable_Ad7928 encountered this very issue with another customer. So they turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.

They asked:

AITA for bringing my dog to a store and making a person with a service dog mad?

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I have a husky which is very well trained. It’s not a service dog, it’s my regular pet. He doesn’t bite, attack or make a mess.”

“Yesterday I went to the mall. Malls in my country and department stores in general are pet friendly, the only places the dog is not allowed into is the grocery store but everywhere else dogs are allowed unless stated otherwise by the business.”

“As I was walking around a lady approached me and she had her service dog with her. She asked me why do I not have my dog’s ‘service dog’ tag on him and I told her its not a service dog.”

“She was smiling and talking in a passive aggressive tone to me and said ‘then why would you bring a regular pet in here?'”

“I told her ‘because I’m allowed to? It’s not forbidden’ to which she replied ‘well yeah it’s not but what would happen if your dog attacked my service animal?'”

“I stated to her that my dog is not aggressive at all and as far as I’ve noticed he hasn’t paid any attention to her service dog so far. She said ‘yeah but he could have.'”

OP was confused by the hypothetical.

“I told her that regardless, I’m allowed to bring my dog anywhere I want since it’s allowed and the stores are pet friendly.”

“She told me that unless it’s a service dog I have no reason to bring my dog everywhere even if it is allowed because dogs like mine don’t belong in every place and I could leave him home. She left before I could reply to her.”

“I’m now wondering, AITA for bringing my dog to a pet friendly store and making that person upset???”

“Disclaimer : I get this question a lot. Yes my dog was on a leash.”

“It’s actually illegal to have your dog off leash unless it’s on a private property where you are permitted to do so. In public places owners could face a fine if they don’t have their dogs on a leash no matter now well behaved or trained they are.”

Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:

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

Redditors agreed OP was not the a**hole.

“NTA. By that rationale, people shouldn’t bring their kids either in case a child tries to pet the service dog. Your dog was harmless in a place its allowed to be in, and you’re not an a**hole for a random person taking offense at your harmless actions.” ~ AstralEndeavor

“Hang on, you might be on to something” ~ thankuhexed

“Yes, please tell me more about these child free department stores…” ~ BUTTeredWhiteBread

“Parent here – would love the idea of a child free department store for occasional shopping so that when I don’t have my kids with me I am not reacting to every kid I hear in the store out of reflex.” ~ Whenitrainsitpours86

“Honestly, even adults, they’re usually the worst culprits for petting service dogs and worse still they get defensive and aggressive when they’re told politely to back off. At least most kids are generally open to the lesson of ‘this dog is working so you shouldn’t pet them,’ the adults are usually past the point of no return entitlement-wise.” ~ fckboris

Some Redditors brought a different perspective.

“Actually, service dogs are explicitly trained to be nonreactive to children, but it’s also up to parents to teach their children not to try interacting with working dogs.”

“I’m not going to vote that OP was t.a. if the laws of their country allow it; but a lot of owners have a blind spot about how well trained their dogs are. And badly trained dogs in public do pose a serious threat to service animals.”

“Not only that, but badly behaved pets in business spaces get confused with service animals, and their bad behavior damages the public’s perception of what exactly a service animal is and what they do.”

“I don’t exactly understand why this woman would have approached OP if she really believed their dog was dangerous to hers, but I’m actually on her side in general.” ~ mouse_attack

“She approached me from the other side of the store I was nowhere close to her. If she thought my dog could be a danger to hers (he wasn’t) she should stay away. My dog was sitting still by my side while that woman was almost yelling at my face.” ~ Miserable_Ad7928

“First: it sounds like you have a really well trained dog and are aware of where and where not you are allowed to bring it. In my book that makes you a responsible pet owner.”

“Second: I HATE when people use hypotheticals to try to prove their argument.”

“If we’re just making sh*t up then it’s just as likely the two dogs run away together and start a traveling blues band. Anyway NTA” ~ literalgarbageyo

“It’s funny because if she was so worried about OP’s dog attacking her service dog why did she approach OP, bringing their dogs into closer contact, instead of just keeping her distance? She clearly doesn’t actually fear that happening and is just using it as an excuse to be a busybody. I wouldn’t be surprised if her dog wasn’t even an actual service animal.” ~ GalliumYttrium1

“That’s what gets me. My service dog has been attacked by untrained pets on three separate occasions and we’ve had several almost attacks. Thankfully he was never seriously injured, but he’s struggled with fear reactions that have naturally been harder to overcome every time.”

“The most recent one almost ended his career and I couldn’t work him for nearly 4 months, which drastically limited my independence and took a lot of time and money retraining. If it happens again it’s virtually guaranteed he will wash out due to not being able to ignore other dogs anymore. Poor baby, I can’t blame him, but it’s still a terrible prospect.”

“So I can understand the fear, I live with it everywhere I go. But I keep my distance from other dogs, to the point where I don’t care to find out whether they’re trained or not. Well trained dogs are totally fine but I’m no longer willing to get close enough to find out. Not if I see them in time to avoid it.” ~ Karaethon22

This issue highlights the importance of training your pets and leaving them at home or with sitter when you’re going places they aren’t allowed to go.