A woman and her service animal who were recently in a store when they were lunged at by another dog, which was captured in a TikTok video, has been viewed over 9 million times.
Shared to the account @jakethes.d, the video shows a dog barking as it tries to run over to the dog’s handler Haylee and the service dog, Jake. The barking dog is reportedly in training to become an emotional support dog, which sparked a conversation among commenters about emotional support animals, service animals and training.
“We have this dog for emotional support,” said the woman of the barking dog at the start of the video. Although Haylee told the woman that emotional support animals are not the same as service animals, the woman responded that she needs him for anxiety.
Haylee and Jake walked away to a different part of the store, however the woman found the two of them.
“I have severe panic attacks, OK?” she said, claiming that she suffers from anthropophobia, which is the fear of people. “My dog is four-months-old and in training.”
The TikTok user responded and said that if the woman’s dog is still being trained, he is not ready to be in a non-pet-friendly store.
“Emotional support is not a service animal,” Haylee continued. “A service animal is a task-trained dog to aid a disability. Which they can do for panic disorder, but you need to train it.”
The manager came over, and Haylee explained the situation she was currently facing. A bystander joined the conversation and added that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says emotional support or therapy dogs are not entitled to the same spaces as service animals.
The ADA outlined on its website what it means to be a service dog, as well as whether or not the organization considers emotional support animals as service animals.
A service dog, the ADA stated, performs tasks for someone who has a disability. This may include alerting someone with diabetes that his or her blood sugar is too high or low or someone who has epilepsy in which the dog is trained to detect the onset of a seizure and keep the person safe.
However, the ADA also said that emotional support, therapy, comfort and companion animals are not service animals. Although they are not explicitly considered service animals, some government agencies on a local or state level may allow people to bring their emotional support animal into public places.
In the comments section, Haylee explained that the manager kicked the woman out of the store while a man who was with the woman and emotional support dog in training took the dog and also left.
Haylee’s video led to commenters weighing in on the incident.
“No matter what the dog’s job is, if it lunges at a service animal or a person it should not be in any store at all,” a viewer wrote.
Some viewers wondered why the woman confronted Haylee if she deals with anthropophobia. “Fear of people? If she was so fearful she wouldn’t have sought you out in the store to try and lecture you,” one person opined.
Though a tense situation, many commended Haylee, the manager and the bystander for how they reacted.
“Stand your ground, even when your voice shakes,” a TikTok user commented. “Proud of you!”
Another commenter wrote, “I’m so incredibly happy that the other lady and the manager backed you up! I could hear how upset you were!”
Newsweek reached out to Haylee for further comment, but did not hear back from her by the time of publication.
This is not the first time Haylee and Jake have gone viral on TikTok. Newsweek previously reported that she shared a video of the sweet moments of when parents talked to their children about Jake and how he works as a service animal.