What would you do if you purposely went into a no-dog zone while hiking and still happened to bump into a service dog?

An internet user asked, “Am I a jerk for being angry because I encountered a ‘service’ dog on my hike.” We need to hear your thoughts on the matter.


6. walk
Image Credits: IndianFaces, Shutterstock

The Original Poster (OP) (33F) is an avid hiker and nature goer. She is not a dog person mostly due to several less-than-positive experiences while hiking. So she’s found herself going to more and more dog-free trails.

What Does OP Say

Young caucasian woman isolated on pink background showing a disappointment gesture with forefinger.
Image Credits: Deposit Photos

“I was at a national park recently that also cuts through and is near a nature preserve. It was a clear no dogs area with plenty of can’t miss signage.”, says OP.

Half An Hour Later

English bulldog running in the grass
Image Credits: Deposit Photos

When OP was half an hour into the hike, she came across someone with a dog in a service dog vest. The dog was on an extendable leash and it was very curious, sniffing everything, and stepping off the trail.

OP told the owner, “You know, dogs aren’t allowed on this trail and it definitely shouldn’t be stepping off the trail even if your service dog is real.”

“She ignored me. I paused. I was just angry at the disrespect of the rules. I specifically chose this trail to avoid dogs.”, says OP.

What Happened Next

A young woman is playing with pets in the garden
Image Credits: Deposit Photos.

Next, OP straight up told her she thinks their dog is a fake service dog. Well, she shot daggers at OP with her eyes and she told OP to shut up and chewed her out for assuming she doesn’t have a disability. Also calls OP a jerk for questioning her.

What Does OP Say?

Attractive man lying on floor with his labrador at home in living room
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“I maintain I think her service dog is fake, I told her even if it’s real, you are acting rude and disrespectful. I passed her. I told a friend what I did and she told me I was a jerk to this person. I think I was in the right.”, says OP.

Service Dogs Also Need Breaks

Young caucasian overweight woman isolated on blue background confused and doubtful shrugging shoulders to hold a copy space.
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“You’re the jerk. Service dogs also need breaks – they are animals, not automatons, and will need to pee and poo and rest their brain at times. The fact that the dog was sniffing around doesn’t mean it wasn’t a service dog that was working while on the trail.”

You Just Can’t Assume It Was Fake!

feeling stressed, worried, anxious or scared, with hands on head, panicking at mistake
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“You’re the jerk. While it’s possible that it was indeed a fake service dog, you don’t *know* that. Service dogs can come in lots of varieties. If you had a complaint/concern you should have brought it up with park management or whoever else manages the trail.”

You Were The Aggressor In The Situation

Young beautiful African American afro woman with curly hair wearing yellow casual sweater Crazy and scared with hands on head, afraid and surprised of shock with open mouth
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“You’re the jerk. It isn’t your place to ask if her service dog is real. You could have just kept on walking and you chose to stop and engage this woman.

You were the aggressor in the situation – you were the one acting rude and disrespectful.”

Dog Rules NEVER Apply To Service Dogs

Blonde caucasian woman standing over pink background crazy and scared with hands on head, afraid and surprised of shock with open mouth
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“No, dog rules NEVER apply to service dogs, they can go ANYWHERE and the dog is allowed to be a dog and sniff about! You’re the jerk big time!”

Not All Disabilities Are Visible

Young beautiful redhead woman wearing casual sweater over isolated pink background clueless and confused with open arms, no idea concept.
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“Not all disabilities are visible. In the US, any and all rules by anyone denying public accommodation to people with disabilities who require service animals are illegal and unenforceable due to the Americans With Disabilities Act, and similar human rights principles apply internationally.

What I have just stated is very well known, your actions were inexcusable and it is totally uncalled for you to start an argument with someone with a disability who is almost certainly physically weaker than you, especially when the reason you started it is because they have a disability.”

That Was Not Your Job!

Young beautiful brunette woman wearing casual turtleneck sweater over red background celebrating mad and crazy for success with arms raised and closed eyes screaming excited. Winner concept
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“You were the one that was rude and disrespectful. You made assumptions without a shred of evidence. Not your job to police the trails.”

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