Bunnings hits back at calls to ban dogs in stores

The retailer has confirmed its stance to Yahoo News on the ongoing doggy debate.

Amid calls for dog-free hours at Bunnings, the hardware giant has revealed it's perfectly happy with how the majority of pets and their owners behave in stores, and has no plans to change its current policy.

On Monday, Yahoo News Australia reporter Rebecca Franks shared her preference to keep dogs out of retail stores during certain hours, after a father said a large breed lunged and snapped at a his young son in a Bunnings store last week.

She argued that in the wake of the pandemic particularly, pet ownership had been driven up by 10 per cent, with the "needs of pups becoming an unnecessarily high priority; from dog-friendly cafes, beaches, bars, pubs and shops, to calls for pet dogs to be allowed on public transport and even planes."

Dogs at Bunnings
Aussies have mixed views on whether dogs should be allowed in retail stores, such as Bunnings. Source: Facebook.

Aussies respond in numbers to call to ban dogs in Bunnings

Since publishing the opinion piece, Yahoo has been inundated with responses from readers — all sharing their varying views on the topic. A Facebook post attracted nearly 20,000 interactions, almost 9,000 of which were comments alone.

"As an owner of two small pups, my girls always sit in the upper-section of the trolley and are restrained for their safety with strong harnesses and leads," a reader said via email. "I have seen many larger dogs in-store but have yet to see any dog owner being irresponsible. Unfortunately it only takes one irresponsible owner to ruin it for everyone."

Dogs at Bunnings
Some say there should be 'dog-free' hours to cater to those who'd prefer to shop without the animals, though others disagree. Source: Facebook.

"It is refreshing to see this article... I’m sure she will get plenty of negative comments from over-zealous dog lovers," emailed a second. "An overwhelming majority of them now feel entitled to take their dogs everywhere, and anywhere they want.

"My wife has spotted them in Coles and Woolworths in Campbelltown Mall (not assistance dogs) and was met with blank stares and an 'oh' from the employees she has complained to."

Public at odds over dog-free proposal

A third person wrote to Yahoo in agreement. "I, too, am getting tired of dogs at Bunnings," they said. "My favourite shop is Bunnings and going to my local Echuca store is becoming unbearable. Dodging dogs and putting my items in trolleys covered in dog fur — we don't go to markets cause of all the dogs.

"We don't go out to eat because of dogs eating in same areas. We are animal people. But this is becoming a joke."

"I love seeing pups at Bunnings and I love taking my little boy there too! Maybe leave the kids at home," another woman wrote on Facebook, which attracted over 1000 likes. "I’m not a dog owner, but I love seeing the dogs at Bunnings," another respondent on Facebook replied, which similarly garnered over 800 likes.

Bunnings weighs in on dog debate

Speaking to Yahoo News Australia, Mike Schneider, Bunnings Managing Director, said the retailer had allowed dogs for several years and welcomes all feedback from the public concerning the policy.

"We’ve been welcoming pets into our stores for over seven years and love the feedback from customers about how much they enjoy bringing them along when they’re shopping with us," Schneider said.

"The ongoing positive feedback was one of the underlying factors in the launch of our pet category, our largest category expansion in two decades. The strong customer take-up of this offer has exceeded our expectations, underscoring the popularity of the category and its resonance with pet owners.

Dogs at Bunnings
Bunnings says the vast majority of dogs are well behaved in its stores. Source: Facebook.

"Like many other retailers with similar pet ranges, we take a commonsense approach when welcoming pets into our stores. The feedback we receive shows that the vast majority of owners are respectful of other customers, and our team when they’re in store, and of course our team are always available to help if customers have any concerns about their shopping experience."

According to Bunnings, dogs are allowed in stores if they’re friendly, on a lead, under control and comply with the conditions of entry which may see unsociable pets asked to leave. Bunnings explained they adopt the same approach to dogs in stores as other pet retailers that allow pets.

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