A woman who became enraged after being told her daughter couldn’t pet a group of service dogs has been dubbed “Service Dog Sally” after footage of the incident went viral.
In a Facebook post, Meg Stoff said the woman had originally walked away after being told she couldn’t touch the dogs, but came back moments later to criticize the way the situation was handled.
“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 I’m sorry they’re training,’” Stoff wrote.
While at least one of the dogs in the video is seen to be clearly labeled as a service animal, the woman can be heard arguing that the handlers should have signage warning people not to touch them.
Since being uploaded to Facebook on Thursday, the video of the incident, which occurred at a mall in Pittsburgh, had amassed almost 8 million views.
It’s well-known that service dogs shouldn’t be touched while working, as the outside attention can distract them from focusing on their handler.
Jennifer Boan, communications manager for Paws With a Cause ― a nonprofit organization that trains service dogs ― previously told HuffPost that when “people interact with the dog and talk to them and make eye contact, the dog is looking for that interaction in public.”
“And then the dog might solicit the attention rather than focusing on the client,” she said.
In a written statement provided to local ABC News affiliate WTAE-TV, the woman in the video alleged that she had been verbally harassed after asking whether her daughter could touch the dogs.
“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 fuck off,” she wrote. “My daughter was being held by me when she used profanity. I left Starbucks line to discuss my concerns of her profanity and clarification.”