A furious debate has erupted over plans that will see Wilko give pet owners permission to bring their dogs into shops.
The move by the household goods retail chain has attracted a backlash nationally and even talk of a mass walkout by regulars.
Yet despite the criticism, a lot of people backed the idea, too – and CoventryLive readers have been discussing it feverishly since the news emerged.
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Many say it’s a great idea, and insist pets are better behaved than many humans. Yet others worry that it will be bad for people with allergies and those scared of dogs – and worry about hygiene.
The rollout has been made to over two-thirds of Wilko’s home and garden stores and will allow pets to browse all areas of participating stores, except for food aisles.
Wilko, which recently announced it was closing 15 stores across the UK – not including its two stores in Coventry and four in Warwickshire – responded by saying “many customers think of pets as family members”.
Signs at store entrances will make it clear if pets are welcome, although customers can also check with the store team if unsure. Service dogs remain welcome at all Wilko stores.
Hundreds of comments were posted on the CoventryLive Facebook page as a war of words broke out over the plans.
Quite a few welcomed the idea.
Mick Cartwright said: “People need to get a life – as long as they are behaved and its not a food shop, should be OK.”
Moira Mitchell said: “Yes, they are part of your family.”
Lisa Bird said: “Good , I’ll use them more now.”
Kelly Brown said: “Good – love Wilko even more now.”
Mandie Donnelly described it as “good news” while Jamie Burns said: “Why would anyone get angry over this?”
Sue Flynn said: “Can’t see a problem myself.”
Judy Griffiths said: “Great news: I will go more often now. I can take Rudy in.”
A qualified yes
Some people gave a more qualified yes.
Among them was Marilynn Vicente, who said: “Yes, as long as owners don’t let them do their business in there.”
Steve Jackson said: “Oh, what does it matter if they’re well-behaved.”
Mick Brown said: “So long as they don’t pee on the stock or eat the food.”
He also said: “Starbucks allow it, as do many dog-friendly pubs that sell food.”
Sarah Howarth said: “Think this is great. Providing the dog is under control and kept away from food items, no issue. I took my dog in there the other day.”
Cindy Swift said: “That’s OK as long as the owners keep them on leads and don’t let them pee up the counters and they don’t bite people.”
Better behaved than people
Many readers, some of whom are dog owners, were very enthusiastic about the prospect and there was a commonly expressed view about dogs often being better behaved then people.
Emily Jackson said: “I would have said no until I got a dog three years ago and realized she has better manners than most people!!!
“She loves a mooch around Melbicks!
“I think more restaurants, pubs and shops should be pooch-friendly, as long as the dog is on a short lead and kept away from other shoppers.”
Rebecca Boops Powell said: “My dog’s better behaved than some humans.”
Dave Ireland added: “There’s plenty of people who shouldn’t be allowed into stores!”
Esther Bennett said: “Definitely. They’re better behaved than most kids and lots of adults!”
Tracey Davies said: “I love this. My little Molly is better behaved than some people. I think more places should be made pet-friendly.”
Karen Perry said: “I’d take my bull terrier in, no problem. She’s got better manners than most humans in there.”
Allan Owens said: “Dogs should be allowed everywhere… To be fair, some humans are worse than animals..”
Laura Savage said: “Dogs are nicer than humans anyway so don’t see the issue.”
Suzanne Lee said: “A lot more dogs are better behaved than most adults or in some cases children accompanying said adult, LOL – as long as they are behaved, why not?”
Robo Hodge said: “Most dogs are cleaner then most children that are grabbing at food items in food stores and parents put them back on the shelf – prefer the dogs.”
Linda Smith said: “More problem with people’s children… dogs are more well-behaved.”
Clive Fennell said: “Absolutely. A well-trained dog is better behaved than a lot of humans.”
Dogs not safe left outside
Dog owners concerned about leaving pets outside a store also welcomed the move.
Kelly Batley said: “People really need to ask themselves what do they have a real problem with here. It isn’t harming anybody.
“We also cannot leave dogs outside any more due to theft. People just moan for the sake of bloody moaning!”
Jackie Wright said: “Yes I agree to this, it’s not safe to leave a dog outside a shop anymore and sometimes you might need to nip in while out for a walk.”
A bad idea
However, there were others who are not so keen on the idea.
Kate Cartwright said: “Most dogs, if left alone and are on leads are great. It’s people who come up to pet your dog without asking etc that also cause issues.
“There are so many variables but generally if dogs are with responsible owners and around other responsible people then no issues will arise. Unfortunately it’s the responsible part many are lacking.”
John Dixon said: “Oh can you just imagine it! We’ve all seen what dogs do: jump, growl, bark.
“If I was out with my kid and saw a dog in wilko I’d just walk on by to next hardware store.”
Sandra Finch said: “Shouldn’t be allowed. I wouldn’t shop in a shop where dogs were allowed, with the exception of guide dogs obviously.”
Dave Roberts said: “Only service dogs should be allowed in public places. I love shopping in Wilkos but if when I go in I see a dog that isn’t there to help someone with their mobility problems I’m out of the place, Wilkos will lose more money than they hope to gain by this.”
Michael Twigz Kelly said: “All the muppets with their ‘fur babies’ or ‘my prince is better behaving then most humans’ really need to get out more.
“What about our brothers and sisters who are allergic to them or for religious reasons can’t be near them?”
Allergies and phobias
Indeed allergies and phobias were a cause for concern voiced by several people.
Lesley Davies said: “Not a good idea for people with allergies or phobias.”
Angie Beaumont said: “No problem with assistance dogs but I’m not sure about dogs allowed in generally.
“We’ve got cafes and pubs that allow them in. Generally have to say that they’ve been well-behaved, but they do lie on chairs and seating and I’ve seen them licking tables and seats which isn’t nice for other people to sit at.
“What if you are allergic to dogs? You may not want to come into contact with them in shops.
“Will supermarkets allow them in soon? Will we be dodging them with shopping trolleys?
“I’ve had dogs, I love dogs but believe there should be limits.”
Kelly Frame said: “No, it shouldn’t be allowed in shops, only guide dogs. My youngest son has a big fear of dogs.”
Dawn Sweatman said: “I have dogs but don’t think they should be allowed in stores. I had a massive fear of dogs for 30 years and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I don’t want dog hair round the pick and mix either.”
Suzie Dixon said: “I’m only concerned about this because I’m highly allergic to dogs.”
Gary Williams said: “Sorry dogs should not be allowed into shops unless guide or service dogs. I am allergic to dogs. Won’t ever shop there again.”
James Ronald Barton said: “I personally couldn’t care less but there are some with allergies and phobias that would be affected.
“If it’s an essential store dog shouldn’t be allowed. If it’s non-essential then it’s fine.
“Obviously guide and support dogs are a different matter entirely and should be allowed.”
Alexa Mcnamara said: “I’m allergic and tablets only slightly help with the itchy eyes and itching but not with the chest tightness.”
Cindy Bennett said: “Some people are allergic to dogs and also can be frightened. I don’t think a shop is a place for dogs, especially if busy. No matter how much you think your dog is OK, it only takes a toddler to rush by and the dog takes a nip for being frightened by it.”
John Reynolds said: “Great, one less place people like me who have a fear of dogs can go without worrying.”
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