Should dogs be allowed in stores?
Wilko, the U.K.-based houseware’s chain, has received a largely positive response — but also a few complaints — to its decision to make two-thirds of its stores pet-friendly.
The move followed a successful pilot at two locations.
“A pet is more than just a pet, they’re family. That’s why we’ve decided to welcome pets in-store at 248 of our locations 🤩,” Wilko wrote in a Facebook post in early February. “We hope that shoppers will enjoy bringing their furry friends along with them 🐶”
Pets must be kept on leashes and are not allowed in food aisles. Participating stores primarily have on-street entrances.
The post has earned more than 10,000, most of which welcome the decision. Some shoppers said their pets help them to stay relaxed. Others said it meant they will no longer have to risk having their pet stolen while tied up outside.
Not everyone is pleased, however, with some calling the activity “unhygienic” and others raising concerns about pet phobias or potential dog misbehavior.
One disappointed customer wrote, “This is no good for my child that has anaphylaxis reactions to animal dander and saliva. Service dogs have their place in stores and we can avoid them and monitor, they are well behaved etc.. pets do not belong in stores.”
Many of the positive responses were reactions to negative ones. One said, “Get a grip people. Dogs are often better behaved than some humans!”
Andrew Goodacre, CEO at the British Independent Retailers Association, told the BBC that the move could help store traffic. He said, “There’s many more pet owners out there, partly because of Covid, and I think there is a great acceptance of pets.”
In the U.S., it’s rare to find a dog alongside their owner in a store, with the exception of guide or service dogs. Under federal guidelines, dogs and other animals are not allowed in restaurants, grocery stores and other places where food is prepared.
Many U.S. cities are known for their pet-friendly shopping policies. Most outdoor malls allow dogs on leashes in common areas, with some stores allowing dogs on a leash or in a carrier.
- A pet is more than just a pet – Wilko/Facebook
- Retailer Wilko welcomes pets into most stores – BBC
- YAPPY DAYS Wilko makes MASSIVE change for shoppers – and it’s good news for pet owners – The Sun
- Angry Wilko shoppers threaten boycott as store begins to allow dogs inside – Daily Record
- Pet Friendly Shopping Malls in the U.S. – Pet Friendly Travel
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are you for or against allowing dogs inside stores? Are the concerns small enough and the benefits big enough for many more U.S. stores to install pet-friendly policies?