A TikToker’s experience with another customer’s animal in a Joann Fabrics has garnered 244,000 views on the platform. Some commenters have taken up a debate over whether reactive dogs should be brought to pet-friendly stores.
The TikToker (@stormytheservicedog) has a service dog named Stormy and the pair recently took a trip to the fabric store.
“I haven’t been in the best way mentally or physically, so we haven’t really gone out in a while,” the TikToker says in the video. “Regardless, Stormy was doing wonderfully. Joann’s is a pet friendly store, and they do welcome all pets and service dogs. While we were in Joann’s, we were approached by an aggressive off-leash pet. As we got up from the fabric counter to leave, the pet noticed Stormy and started barking and running aggressively towards us.”
The TikToker then says the other pet owner blamed their dog’s behavior on the way Stormy was dressed: in a star-printed onesie, service animal vest, and booties.
“The owner of the pet grabbed their dog and then proceeded to yell at us that they were barking because my dog was dressed strangely,” Stormy’s handler said. “With both the interaction and the yelling I did freak out a little bit. Stormy, as she is trained to do, alerted to this and we went to sit in the corner as the pet owner left the store.”
In a statement to the Daily Dot, the TikToker, who is based in New York City, explained that Stormy was dressed a certain way to go out in the cold weather.
@stormytheservicedog The point is PLEASE only bring friendly pets into pet friendly establishments. Joann’s is a ‘safe place’ for me and this interaction was scary and uncalled for. @JOANN #joann #servicedog #servicedogintraining #psa #dobetter #fyp #foryoupage #foryou #dogtok ♬ original sound – Stormy the Service Pup🐕🦺
In the video’s caption, the TikToker wrote that the point of her video was to communicate that only friendly, non-reactive animals should be taken to stores that allow pets.
“The point is PLEASE only bring friendly pets into pet friendly establishments,” the video is captioned. “Joann’s is a ‘safe place’ for me and this interaction was scary and uncalled for.”
However, some commenters strongly disagreed with this point and argued that the issue wasn’t that the other dog was reactive, but that it wasn’t on a leash. Others claimed that dog-friendly spaces like Joann Fabrics are used to help train reactive dogs.
“People are allowed to bring reactive dogs in public,” one commenter wrote. “They are allowed to work on their dog’s issues in safe places. [Joann Fabrics] and other pet friendly non-petstore places are little safe havens for people with reactive dogs because there isn’t going to be a dog in every spot they try to go. If you can’t be respectful to another human and their dog that is having a hard time you should rethink going to pet friendly places.”
Some commenters criticized this take, writing that service dogs take precedence as medical assistants over reactive dogs whose owners use pet-friendly stores as training grounds.
“If you can’t be respectful to people with service animals, you should rethink using public spaces as training grounds for your aggressive/reactive dog,” one commenter wrote. “To demand people stay home for your comfort is ableist bullshit.”
The TikToker told the Daily Dot that her post has garnered mixed reactions, but she tries not to swell on it.
“The reality of it is, the situation we encountered is not the be all end all of reactive dogs, and this pet owner clearly wasn’t in control, or didn’t care to be, and allowed their dog to go over threshold and react,” she said. “Responsible reactive dog owners know where their dog is in training, what they can handle, what will put them over threshold, etc. What we ask is to please use your best judgment when taking a reactive dog into public, and please, always do so on a leash!”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Joann Fabrics directly via email regarding their pet policy.
This post has been updated to include a statement from the TikToker.
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*First Published: Feb 5, 2022, 11:31 am CST
Brooke Sjoberg is a freelance writer for the Daily Dot. She graduated with her Bachelors in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin in 2020.