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Walmart Apologizes After Employee Accuses Woman With Service Dog Of Faking A Disability

Walmart Apologizes After Employee Accuses Woman With Service Dog Of Faking A Disability
Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images, Huntstock/Getty Images

On Monday, July 9, Ashley Fitzpatrick and her service dog, Kona, were about to enter the Walmart in Spanish Fork, Utah, when an employee stopped them. The employee said Kona must be on a leash to enter the building, then accused Fitzpatrick of faking a disability so she could bring her dog with her.

Fitzpatrick told local news station KUTV that Kona helped her to deal with anxiety and depression. Kona is also trained to comfort Fitzpatrick if she has a panic attack, which has helped her gain the stability to go out in public far more than she used to.

According to Fitzpatrick:

There have been weeks where I haven't left the house and now it's to the point where I'm out every day.

Fitzpatrick found the employee's words especially hurtful considering all she and Kona have been through:

How can you say that to someone like me? Even though it's a mental disability, it's just as debilitating.

Walmart issued a statement apologizing for their employee's actions:

We're committed to providing a safe shopping experience for those shoppers and associates relying on assistance from service animals. We appreciate our customer bringing this to our attention and have apologized.

Employees from the Spanish Fork store reached out to Fitzpatrick to help make things right. A store manager wrote on Facebook:

I had the pleasure of meeting Ashley and her wonderful dog Kona this afternoon. Walmart is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable shopping experience for our customers who rely on service animals, and we look forward to working with Ashley and Kona to drive awareness and provide support for the service animal community. Kona is a beautiful fantastic support for Ashley and I am thankful that we were able to come to a resolution to turn this into a positive experience.

Other people with service animals have been in similar situations and all seem to agree: harassment like this must stop.

And, after all, at the end of the day, people just love dogs!

H/T - Newsweek, KUTV