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Pets Banned in Home Depot after Shih Tzu Accident

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Pets Banned in Home Depot after Shih Tzu Accident

By Lisa Spector, Juilliard Graduate, Canine Music Expert and co-founder of Through a Dog’s Ear.

On April 19th, a greeter employed by Home Depot in Ottawa, Canada approached an elderly woman’s 12-year-old Shih Tzu dog, Spot, who was in her shopping basket. The employee, Anne Riel,  reportedly leaned over and reached into the basket with her hand to pet the small dog, who then 
jumped up and bit off a part of her nose. Riel was rushed off by ambulance and needed seven stitches to repair her nose.

Because of the incident, Home Depot Canada decided to ban their allowance of all pets into their Canadian stores starting May 16th, however they will continue to allow certified service dogs. Previously their policy allowed all pets into their stores, as long as they were under the owner’s control. A release written by Tiziana Baccega, Home Depot Canada’s manager of public relations says, “Many of us at the Home Depot Canada are pet owners ourselves, and we understand that the majority of pet owners are responsible in how they control their pets, however, we believe this is the best decision for the shopping enjoyment and safety of all customers.”

The dog’s owner, Odette Fournier, has been fined $610, and she was also issued an order to keep Spot muzzled outside her home. Riel said she wanted the dog put down and that she hopes her experience shows the public that it’s not just certain kinds of dogs that can become aggressive. “Please, please understand it’s not only the Pit Bulls and German Shepherds and the big dogs that are nasty,” she said. “The small dogs can be just as nasty and that’s what’s deceiving.”

Next: Was Spot at fault?

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Read more: Animal Rights, Behavior & Communication, Dogs, Everyday Pet Care, Humor & Inspiration, Pets, Safety, , , , , , , , ,

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.


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5:56PM PDT on Oct 20, 2014

It sounds as though an ignorant and thoughtless person put her face too close to a strange dog, accused it of being "nasty," tried to have it killed, and succeeded in giving it the lifelong punishment of being muzzled.

At least this "nasty" person will stop allowing her "nasty" children to walk up to strange dogs and pet them without asking first.

3:35PM PDT on May 21, 2014

I know this is an old article but I just have to say this is not the dogs fault. It is the irresponsible person who brought a dog that is not approachable to a store. The article says "Most dogs would feel threatened by a hand of a stranger reaching right towards their face, especially into their kennel, basket, or otherwise safe den they view as their space. The difference is that many tolerate it and don’t react by biting, but very few like it. ....................THIS IS NOT TRUE (although I agree you should ask first) Very few dogs like the attention and simply tolerate it. Have you ever had a dog? Quite contrary actually; most dog love attention and are so sweet and happy go lucky t& excited to see people. If someone has a dog that cannot be approached or has a history of being intolerant of strangers, then this dog should not have been in Home Depot (or any other store) This lady used poor judgement and this choice resulted in someone being injured and her decision almost caused this dog his life!! A good thing was ruined for all the responsible pet parents who enjoy being with their dog as much as possible. It is like going to the dog park and bringing a dog that is a bully and/or not good with all other dogs. I have been to many dog parks and dog beaches where there were 10,15, 20 dogs without a single issue. I have also seen some incidents where a dog has gone after another dog. We often take our dog to stores and restaurants that allow dogs. My pup was

12:03AM PDT on May 5, 2014

Kim W., this is a very old article, but thank you for stating that. I'll admit that I took my Golden puppy on a leash with me into the outdoor portion of the garden department at Home Depot a couple of months ago, and that was after he'd gotten his final shots and I was socializing him as much as possible, but again, only on a leash at my side while walking OUTSIDE thru the tables of annuals and bedding plants. I'd never take him, as much as a lover as he has turned out to be, inside any store except Petco or Petsmart. I love dogs more than most, but I won't assume everyone else does, nor wants to be exposed to my dog's dander or hair. I have complained many times in Walmart about others' dogs, and finally, FINALLY, dogs (except service dogs) are prohibited inside! I also was almost bitten in a Home Depot by some irresponsible person's little FOO FOO dog that was at the end of one of those 25' long retractable leashes. I bent over in the garden dept while picking up an azalea under the shelves and didn't see the little monster cowering down there. He charged out, growling and snarling at me and his idiot owner merely called him back to her. She had ZERO control over him.

8:36AM PDT on May 4, 2014

Unless it's a bona fide service animal, please DON'T take your pets into a Home Depot or Lowes store. It's a building and construction supply, NOT a pet store. It's hard enough trying to load lumber and other construction supplies without having to maneuver around some idiot and his/her dog. And in a contest between Fido and a forklift, Fido is likely to come out second best. If you want to take your dog into a store, try Petco.....

10:24AM PST on Dec 14, 2013

I assumed it was common knowledge to never pet a strange animal. The dog in the shopping basket was protecting it's owners posession, the cart, in it's mind, and you never put your face up to a dog's face even if it's your own dog! Of course the dog shouldn't have to wear a muzzle or be put down. As to dogs in stores, I think dogs in warehouse type home remodeling stores and outside patio restaurants, etc are fine. I'd prefer not to have dogs, nor do I feel a need to bring my dog, inside department and grocery stores.

2:20PM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Interesting article. Interesting comments!

5:26PM PDT on Oct 25, 2011

No, only guide dogs for the blind etc.

4:56PM PDT on Sep 17, 2011

I don't think animals should be let in stores, unless if it's a service animal.

10:53AM PDT on Jun 30, 2011

And just for the record, I actually prefer if stores didn't allow pets. Here in Singapore, no store does. And I must say as a result we never get "complications" arising, as illustrated by this incident! So for me, it is interesting to see how store in other countries allow pets, yet have no protocol on how their employees are supposed to handle them (or rather, *not* handle them, in this case!). If you allow something, you need to anticipate what allowing that would mean...

10:47AM PDT on Jun 30, 2011

@Diane: You said, "Are you suggesting that every retail establishment expect all of their employees to be trained in how to deal with dogs and cats?"

No, that is not what I'm suggesting at all. I think you're missing the point here. The point is that the store *allows* pets. And if it allows pets, it had better be prepared to know how to deal with them, as well as all the possible consequences that could result from allowing pets.

That's why I said Home Depot took the easy route out - by banning them. And why is it "over-the-top"? Well, you don't simply change your entire policy because of the actions of ONE person. It's just like saying, Company A will now close all its toilets because ONE person fell inside while using it. Firstly, why would Company A have to close all its toilets? Couldn't it have implemented a different policy to more closely and adequately address the issue of "falling inside toilets" rather than "close all toilets"? Closing all toilets would definitely prevent anyone from falling inside altogether, but it 1) too big an action to take; and 2) does not address the crux of the issue, which is, WHY the person fell inside in the first place.

Using the above analogy in this context, WHY did the employee get bitten? Ans: It was the result of a bad decision on her part. Does it involve anybody else? No. At most, you can say the incident COULD have been avoided had she been instructed beforehand NOT to touch pets.


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

Poor little puppy, me ain't big enough yet, me scared. Thank you for caring and sharing.

it's just easier to go up the stairs, than down the stairs

Hate the term superfood but love cantaloupe.

Gonna try the peel on my teeth if I remember just for gigs

Interesting, thank you.


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