Dog Refused Entrance to Park due to “Privilege”

Amy Morrow and her 4-year-old English cream golden retriever, Sophie, were refused entrance to a park due her color. Amy recalling the encounter said, “Sophie and I were just about ready to enter Pete’s Pet Playground and Day Spa,” located just outside Seattle, WA, “when the attendant told us we could not enter. I was really surprised since we had been going to the park for years and were excited that they had opened back up.” Amy continued, saying, “the attendant showed us a new sign ‘White dogs no longer accepted,’ but gave us no additional information. Sophie was really confused. I had to really pull to get her to turn around.”

In a written response to our inquiry, owners Hazel and Pat Bitterman, wrote, “We feel that white dogs are automatically viewed as being friendlier and more obedient than other dogs. They seem to get more attention, less blame for starting fights and when a mess is made, their owners are less likely to pick it up. In the dog world they are the most privileged. In our small way, we are allowing dogs of other colors a safe and welcoming place.”

Reaction from patrons of Pete’s was mixed. Asha Ajmera, owner of Sam, a multi-colored beagle, said, “though I don’t agree with the policy, Pete’s is a private business so I guess they can set any rules they want.” Mark Conway, proud pet parent of Rocky, a Doberman said, “it’s sad that it has come to this. Sophie is a really good dog and the other dogs like her. But how will the dogs of other colors ever get what they rightly deserve if we don't help them?”

Amy and Sophie have found a new place to play and all seems well. Amy concluded, “Sophie has made some new friends but she misses the ball pit at Pete’s. You know, dogs are color blind and judge other dogs by behavior and how they treat each other. I think people could learn a thing or two from them.”

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