A video of a mother accosting a group of service animals and their handlers has gone viral after being shared publicly on Facebook. The video shows the mother getting upset after being told “no,” she cannot pet a service dog.
Had this crazy experience yesterday at the mall where some lady asked if she could pet the dogs. People ask us all the time so I just said, “no.” All the dogs are working so it’s my go to answer. And they walked away. No big deal right? This lady went out of her way to come back with her child and yell at us for saying “no” and for not saying, “nO iM sOrRy ThEy’Re TrAiNiNg.” And we should “have a sign or something.” You mean the 20 patches on my dog that say don’t pet? ???? Entitlement these days is real. They even got mall security because we said they couldn’t pet the working dogs. ???????? Security said that the lady was crying ???? So much harassment for just saying no. This video is public and is shareable. There was no common sense here.
Posted by ML Leigh on Thursday, December 20, 2018
The footage was shared by ML Leigh, one of the service dog handlers at the mall. The video has amassed nearly 9 million views and almost 9,000 retweets on Twitter since Thursday.
According to Leigh’s post, the mother walked away after being told no, but then the “lady went out of her way to come back with her child and yell at us for saying ‘no’ and for not saying, ‘nO iM sOrRy ThEy’Re TrAiNiNg.’ And we should ‘have a sign or something.'”
Leigh’s dog had “do not pet” patches on its vest and there were four signs posted telling others to not pet the dogs, according to the video. The mother seemed upset about the “tone” of the firm no, and asked to talk to a higher-up of the group. One of the handlers told the mother she was the owner of the business. The handlers were participating in a group meet-up to get to know other service animal handlers, according to Bored Panda.
“Entitlement these days is real,” Leigh posted on Facebook. “So much harassment for just saying no.”
Service animals are working dogs who are trained to do specific tasks or provide other assistance to a person with a disability. Distracting a service animal can be dangerous because they aren’t able to focus on their handler. Some service animals are able to detect drops in blood sugar in people with diabetes, and others can alert their handler if they are about to have a seizure. They might not be able to do these jobs effectively if they are distracted.
In the video, the mother says she will “call her lawyer” after telling Leigh she can’t film her without her consent. In the U.S., it is legal to film another person in a public area where a level of privacy is not guaranteed. Harassing a service animal, however, is illegal.
The Mighty reached out to ML Leigh for comment and has yet to hear back.