Walmart - service animal

@thatbitchjaedyn/TikTok

Video: Karen takes her non-service dog to Walmart and causes a scene (updated)

The viral TikTok has more than 11 million views.

Dec 31, 2020, 3:12 pm*

IRL

 

Nahila Bonfiglio

The holiday season is still lingering, which might bring some people to expect a moment of peace from the Karens and Kens of the world. If you expected them to take a momentary break from causing drama wherever they go, however, you would be wrong.

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The latest viral Karen moment to arise from this unyieldingly difficult portion of the population actually has very little to do with Karen herself. Instead, the Karen TikTok—with more than 11 million views and upward of 3 million likes so far—centers primarily around a dog.

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Uploaded by user @thatbitchjaedyn on Dec. 26, the TikTok shows a woman named Jaeden visiting a local Walmart with her service dog Yuki. According to several follow-up videos, Jaedyn and Yuki were calmly browsing the store's selection when a woman approached with her own dog in tow. Except, by all appearances, the woman's dog was not a service animal. As Yuki, a seizure alert dog, sits calmly between Jaedyn's legs, Karen's pocket-sized pup barks and snarls away in its owner's arms.

As the video begins, Jaedyn and Yuki are standing in the store's electronics section, browsing phone cases. Yuki is clearly distracted by the other dog, which continues its incessant barking throughout the entire video. Despite the other dog's clearly antagonistic attitude, Yuki stays calm and obedient by Jaedyn's side the entire time.

https://www.tiktok.com/@thatbitchjaedyn/video/6910449816908745990

Jaedyn makes the innocent mistake of attempting to reason with Karen as she and her furious animal inch closer to Jaedyn and Yuki. "Can you please take your dog out of the store?" she asks timidly over the dog's tiny snarls. "Like, that's illegal. You can't have a pet in the store."

Karen attempts to defend herself by claiming that a dog like Yuki previously attacked her dog, which is entirely beside the point. She laughs off the idea that bringing a dog into a non-pet-friendly establishment is against the law, and has the audacity to step even closer to Yuki and Jaedyn. Her dog, unsurprisingly, completely loses it at this point. Its furious little barks make the rest of the video difficult to hear, even as Yuki remains seated in between Jaedyn's legs.

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Jaedyn repeatedly asks Karen to back away with her evidently non-service pet, but Karen ignores the requests. The situation finally becomes too much, and Jaedyn chooses to leave rather than allow the situation to further escalate. As she retreats into a nearby aisle, Jaedyn is clearly distressed. Her breathing becomes short and panicked, prompting Yuki to check on her.

In part two of the video, Jaedyn's father can be heard arguing with store employees. He notes that the woman with the non-service dog should not be allowed in without proof of the dog's purpose. Yuki has clearly labeled signage identifying her as a service animal.

Karen can be heard in the background, claiming that her dog is, in fact, a service animal. No clear labels or signs asserting this fact can be easily seen on the dog. Jaedyn begins to hyperventilate as the situation continues to escalate. Ultimately, she is forced to sit on the ground next to Yuki or risk collapsing.

The final part of the video series offers explanations from Jaedyn's perspective. "So what had happened was, I was standing in electronics looking at phone cases. This lady comes up behind us and her dog starts going ballistic," a voice-over explains. "I tried to remove myself from the situation and the lady just comes closer to us each time until she'd finally circled back around and was in the same aisle as us, bringing her dog closer and closer to Yuki."

https://www.tiktok.com/@thatbitchjaedyn/video/6910459301991648518
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As Jaedyn pointed out in a later video, Walmart has a strict pet policy. While the company does allow service animals "as defined by the ADA" within its stores, it does not allow pets of any other kind, according to the corporate website.

Walmart pet policy
Walmart website

The initial TikTok eventually migrated to Reddit, where it collected nearly 7,000 upvotes and dozens of comments. Many people shared their own stories of pets in Walmart and commiserated with Jaedyn. Some people interpreted the video differently, however, blaming much of the escalation on Jaedyn, rather than Karen. As one commenter explained, however, it can be dangerous for someone who needs their service animal to around non-professional pets. "Service dogs have a job to help keep their owner alive and reduce the repercussions from medical emergencies that are not always preventable, in this case a seizure," user Ashmerrr explained. "Dogs are still animals and another dog barking at it can snap it out of being in 'work mode' meaning it's no longer able to do its job."

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According to a number of commenters, Walmart is extremely loose regarding its pet policy. While employees are not technically supposed to allow non-service animals, they are typically discouraged from asking customers about their pets. This means that people often bring non-service animals to accompany their shopping trips.

Jaedyn's video displays why this may be a flawed policy. Service animals are almost always clearly labeled, which should make it reasonably easy for associates to discern which pets should, and should not, be allowed in their stores.

Update 3:11pm CT, Dec. 31: When reached for comment, Jaedyn told the Daily Dot that she and Yuki are doing "fine" and that Yuki is now retired. Jaedyn claimed that when Walmart managers asked the woman if her dog is a service animal and what tasks it is trained to perform, she failed to provide a sufficient answer. "She couldn’t answer what tasks her dog was trained to perform after claiming it was a service dog so the Mangers kicked her out of the store," Jaedyn said.

She added that "the reason it’s so important for service dogs to stay focus and in 'work mode' is because service dogs can be the line between life and death for somebody."

"If Yuki were to miss a seizure alert because she’s distracted I could get seriously injured or even killed. That’s why a dog continuously barking can be detrimental for service dog handlers and is such a big issue! Thankfully Yuki has an extremely good alert even when distracted but it’s always better safe than sorry," Jaedyn said.

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*First Published: Dec 29, 2020, 7:45 am