Wilko’s has announced a widespread change allowing pet owners to bring their dogs into stores.
The rollout has been made to over two-thirds of Wilko’s home and garden stores across the UK, but it does not allow canine companions to browse the food aisles.
However, the move has caused quite a split of opinion among customers.
How have customers reacted?
A number of shoppers are upset by the new policy as the company has not made it mandatory to have leads when bringing their pets into the stores, the Daily Record reports.
One disappointed Wilko customer said she would be boycotting the business as a result, writing: “This is no good for my child that has anaphylaxis reactions to animal dander and saliva.
“Service dogs have their place in stores and we can avoid them and monitor, they are well behaved etc.. pets do not belong in stores and raises the risk for my son to come in contact with areas that have been contaminated!”
She added: “We won’t be shopping in your all dogs welcome stores!”
Wilko responded by saying “many customers think of pets as family members”.
Another fan of the shop, Charl Naylor, said that while he liked dogs, he didn’t particularly want them around him in a retail setting.
He said: “Lots of people are afraid of dogs, and being in a confined space with them isn’t going to be a pleasant experience.”
A critic of the change, Natalie Mitchell, said: “One shop I will not not be shopping in to keep myself and my assistance dog safe!!
“Wilko you should do better and no better shame on you! I have already had an incident in one of your stores with a pet dog trying to attack my assistance dog!! And that was before you did this stupid rule.”
What has the reaction been for owners of guide dogs?
Samantha Ralfe said the idea isn’t good for guide dogs.
She said: “As a Guide Dog user I think this is a rather ill-thought-through idea.
“It’s hard enough navigating around the shop, to begin with then adding extra distractions of other animals it could end in disaster.
“Unfortunately not every animal owner can be bothered to train their dogs correctly. What will happen if any assistance dog is attacked in the store will Wilkos be footing the vets bills.”
Service dogs still remain welcome at all stores nationwide.
Which of its stores will allow dogs?
The participating stores are primarily those with their own on-street entrance and exit.
Stores in Avonmeads and Bedminster are both signing up to the changes, according to the Bristol Post.
Signage at store entrances will make it clear if pets are welcome, and customers can also check with the store team if they are unsure.
Shoppers can also call their local Wilko store in advance to check if dogs are allowed.
Do some customers welcome the change?
Despite the criticism, a lot of people have backed the idea too.
Natalie Druce said: “My dog is my family. I hate not going with her she like my support dog.”
Linda Carroll said: “I rely on my dog to keep me calm, when she is with me I don’t have panic attacks, this would be great for me.
“Agoraphobia watch out, Giz is taking me shopping in one of my favourite stores.”
One fan posted on Facebook: "Great news. Thank you for being so forward thinking."
Another wrote: "Fab idea it’s better than tying dogs up outside of the store at the risk of them being stolen."
One joked: "Clean up on aisle 3."
What has Wilko’s said?
The high street retailer said: "We hope that shoppers will enjoy bringing their furry friends along with them.
"Please check for new signage at the entrance of your local store to see if they are participating."
Other high street retailers also have a pet-friendly policy including John Lewis and Metro bank.
A Clarks outlet in Somerset welcomes furry friends in stores too.
Here is the full list of impacted stores:
Aberdare; Abergavenny; Accrington; Acocks Green; Alfreton; Allenton; Alnwick; Altrincham; Ammanford; Andover; Armley; Arnold; Ashby; Ashford; Ashington; Ashton; Avonmeads; Aylesbury; and Ayr.
Banbury; Barking; Barnstaple; Barry; Basildon; Beaumont Leys; Bedford; Bedford Interchange; Bedminster; Beeston New; Belper; Beverley; Bicester; Biggleswade; Birkenhead; Birstall; Blackheath; Blackwood; Bletchley; Bloxwich; Blyth; Bognor Regis; Bordon; Boston; Brigg; Brighouse; Burnley; Bury; Bury St Edmunds; and Byker.
Camberley; Cambridge; Cardiff; Cardiff Bay Retail Park; Carlisle; Carlton; Castle Douglas; Castleford; Chester Le Street; Chippenham; Clacton On Sea; Cleveleys; Clifton; Clowne; Coalville; Cockermouth; Colindale; Corby; Cortonwood; Coventry; Crossgates; Cwmbran; and Cyfarthfa.
Deepdale; Denton; Derby; Devizes; Dewsbury; Didcot; Driffield; Droitwich; Droylesden; Dunstable; and Durham.
Earlestown; East Dereham; East Ham; Eastbourne; Eccles; Ellesmere Port; and Ely.
Falmouth; Fareham; Ferndown; Folkestone; Fort Kinnaird; and Fulham.
Gainsborough; Giltbrook; Gloucester; Gorleston; Great Bridge; Great Malvern; Greenbridge; Greenwich; and Grimsby.
Halesowen; Halifax; Harpurhey; Haverford West; Hayes; Headingley; Hessle Road; Hitchin; Holyhead; Hounslow; Hucknall; Huddersfield; Humberstone; Huntingdon; and Huyton.
Kenilworth; Kensington; Kettering; Kidderminster; Kimberley; Kings Heath; Kings Lynn; Kingston Milton Keynes; and Kingswood.
Lee Circle; Leeds Trinity; Leek; Leigh; Leighton Buzzard; Letchworth; Lichfield; Liverpool Edge Lane; Llandudno; Long Eaton; Longton; Loughborough; Louth; and Lowestoft.
Maesteg; Maidenhead; Market Drayton; Market Harborough; Matlock; Melton Mowbray; Middlebrook; Mildenhall; Morley; and Morriston.
Neath; New Malden; Newbury; Newcastle-under-Lyme; Newton Abbott; Newton Aycliffe; Northallerton; Nottingham; and Nuneaton.
Oakham; Orton; and Oswestry.
Parc Trostre; Parkgate; Pembroke Dock; Perry Barr; Peterborough; Pontefract; Pontypool; Porthmadog; Portsmouth; and Pwllheli.
Queen Street Cardiff.
Rainham; Redcar; Redhill; Redruth; Retford; Rhyl; Ripley; Riverside; Rugele; and Rushden.
Sale; Selby; Selly Oak; Sherwood; Shirley; Shrewsbury; Slough; South Shields; Southport; Sovereign Harbour; Spalding; St Albans; St Austell; St Helens; St James Retail Park; Stafford; Stevenage; Stockport; Stourbridge; Stratford; Strood; Sutton, Notts; Sutton, Surrey; and Syston.
Tamworth; Tamworth Retail Park; Taunton; Telford; Thamesmead; Thetford; Thornaby; Tooting; Torquay; Tottenham Hale; Truro; and Tunbridge Wells.
Wakefield; Walthamstow; Walton Thames; Waterlooville; Watford; Wellington; Wembley; West Ealing; West Quay; Wheatley; Whitehaven; Widnes; Wigston; Wimbledon; Winton; Wolverhampton; Wombwell; Woodhouse Lane; Workington; Wrexham; and Wythenshawe.
A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com