A mother has come under scrutiny after a video of her raging at a dog handler for not allowing her daughter to pet a service dog went viral.
In the altercation filmed on December 19, Megan Stoff was with a golden retriever, Nala, in a busy Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania shopping mall, when a mother and her young daughter approached them.
Asking if her daughter could pet the working pooch, Megan and a co-worker told the mother ‘no’, as petting a service dog can interfere with its training.
Allegedly, just minutes later, after walking away the woman returned in a rage and began shouting at Megan and her co-workers.
Meghan decided to begin filming the outburst, and the clip has since been watched more than four million times.
The mother says: ‘That was definitely very rude how she talked to me.
‘Firstly you should have a sign [saying not to touch the dog], and secondly she should not have said “no”, she could’ve said “sorry the dog is in training”, that would’ve been nicer.’
Megan tells the woman to walk away, and points out Nala’s vest has the words ‘Please do not pet me I’m working’ written on both sides of it, along with ‘Do not touch’ and ‘Do not pet’.
She adds that it’s illegal to ‘harass a service dog’.
Expressing her contempt at the manner in which she was told ‘no’, the mother soon realizes she’s being filmed and tensions escalate further when she threatens to call her lawyer.
The mother continues: ‘You are recording without my consent.
‘It’s illegal and I’m going to call my lawyer right now.’
Speaking to Pittsburgh Action News 4, Megan said people with service dogs deal with requests from the public to pet the dogs, almost daily.
‘They don’t know they’re not supposed to talk to them and distract them. They think they can go, hi puppy, hi doggy, and get in their face, and that can also distract them even though we’ve trained them to hopefully ignore that.
‘I guess something else I’d want the public to know is that, service dogs are not just for people with physical disabilities or visible disabilities.
‘A lot of people have service dogs for things that are not visible such as seizures, diabetes, PTSD,’ Stoff said.
However, the woman shown in the video offered a different perspective of the events.
In a written statement to the news station, she insists she wasn’t offended by Stoff saying no, she said she decided to confront the group because some had told her to ‘F**k off’, in front of her two-year-old daughter.
‘My daughter, friend and I were walking behind a group of people with dogs. I asked one woman if my daughter could pet her dog, she’s responded with No in a rude manner.
‘We accepted the answer of NO and was proceeding to Starbucks line for coffee when my friend and I heard a woman from the group tell us to F*** off.
‘My daughter was being held by me when she used profanity.
‘I left Starbucks line to discuss my concerns of her profanity and clarification. After that the woman started recording me as shown.’
The mother has said that since the video went viral, she’s received several hate messages on Facebook.
SOURCE: DailyMail, by Luke Kenton