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Lotte Mart apologizes for turning away guide dog in training

(Captured from the witness’s Instagram)
(Captured from the witness’s Instagram)

A day after receiving flak on social media, Lotte Mart issued an apology Monday over a recent incident where one of its employees refused entry to a dog being trained to assist a person with a disability.

On Sunday, a social media user shared pictures of a dog sitting inside Lotte Mart’s Jamsil branch in Seoul and said an employee had refused to allow the dog and trainer into the store.

“The employee raised their voice, blaming the woman for bringing a dog in when she is not even a disabled person. The woman broke into tears,” the witness said in an Instagram post.

“The dog was allowed to enter the building in the first place, and if the mart (inside the building) wanted to refuse entry, they could have said so more politely. It is a shame that the employee informed them in that manner.”

The dog in the picture shared by the user wore an orange vest, with a message identifying the animal as a guide dog in training.

According to the Act on Welfare of Persons with Disabilities, if a person with a disability, or a dog trainer, accompanied by a guide dog with a sign intends to enter a public place, no one can refuse entry without good reason. Violators can be fined up to 3 million won ($2,700).

Lotte Mart issued an apology a day after the incident, saying it would learn from it and make sure it never happened again.

“Lotte Mart would like to offer our sincere apology for mistreating the dog and the puppy walker who visited Lotte Mart Jamsil Branch,” the statement read.

“From this incident, we will deliver guidelines to all employees to raise awareness of not only guide dogs, but also of puppy walkers, and make sure this does not happen again.”

A puppy walker is a volunteer who trains guide dogs for people with visual or hearing impairments, when the dog is between the ages of 7 weeks and 1 year old.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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