A worker at an animal shelter is being slammed as “fatphobic” for refusing to allow an overweight woman to adopt a dog. The employee refused the “morbidly obese” woman on the grounds that they believed the dog wouldn’t get enough exercise. In a since-deleted Reddit post, the worker shared their story, which many dubbed cruel and completely inappropriate.
The dog in question really loved the woman. The worker noted that the dog, Rocky, jumped up on the woman and gave her loads of kisses at an adoption event. It was a match made in heaven, but the worker wasn’t having it. “It was love at first sight. Only problem? She was morbidly obese and drenched in sweat when it wasn’t warm,” they wrote.
The worker automatically assumed the woman doesn’t exercise. While they noted that they realize size doesn’t indicate health, the worker still made the judgment that the woman couldn’t care for the dog. “I know you can’t judge fitness by looks, but I’ve never met someone her size fit enough to run over two hours a day with a hyperactive dog or chase him when he jumps the fence,” they claimed.
The woman was relentlessly “interrogated” by the worker. While the shelter worker claimed that they aggressively screen “ALL adopters,” they went on to say that the woman showed many “yellow-green flags” like that she lived in an apartment near a dog park and that she worked flexible hours. She also said she lives an “active lifestyle” but the worker wasn’t impressed by the fact that she “didn’t elaborate,” writing: “‘Active lifestyle’ has many meanings nowadays [and] I learned after having this job for a while that you have to go with your gut and prioritize animals over peoples’ feelings.”
The worker made some pretty strong assumptions about the woman and her ability to care for the dog. They went on to say that while the woman was visibly “excited” about taking Rocky home, they ” saw him going home with her, getting little to no exercise, trashing a couch or two, and then being taken back here or worse, to a kill shelter.” What on earth allowed them to make such a judgment?!
They told the woman she couldn’t adopt Rocky and instead suggested she get a cat. Unsurprisingly, the woman didn’t take well to the worker’s blatant discrimination and had her say. “She got mad and said things I won’t say. I didn’t mention weight, but I think she knew that was the reason I turned her away,” the worker relayed.
The worker “briefly doubted [their] decision” at first. However, they said they changed their mind when they believed their assumptions about her fitness levels were proven right. “As I saw her struggle to walk to her car, I knew I was right. My boss said he would do the same thing,” they claimed.
The woman in question has publicly shamed the employee and the shelter. As the worker shared, the woman has a following online and wasn’t shy about letting others know about the treatment she’d received. “Now apparently the woman I turned away has a large social media following, and she’s been talking about the shelter, calling us fatphobic, and urging followers to post bad reviews of us and not to donate to us,” the worker says. “The owner also says I did the right thing, but I’m unsure. The emails have been getting worse and worse. I fear we will lose funds and adopters, all because I was too judgmental. The animals are my number [one] priority, but should I have just let Rocky go?”
No one was on the worker’s side. It seems pretty obvious that judging someone’s fitness by their size is ridiculous and that what happened here was fatphobic, and commenters weren’t shy about saying as much. “I know you can’t judge fitness by looks’ and then you immediately did just that. The best thing to do would have been a home check and two-week foster trial,” one person wrote. Another added: “I’m overweight currently. At my heaviest, I was classified as obese. So was my now wife. Yet when we were at our ‘fattest’ during the lockdown we walked our dog 5+ miles a day.” A third remarked: “First of all: there are plenty of regular size folks who don’t provide their dogs with the level of activity they need. Second: how do YOU know she won’t supplement what she can’t do with doggie daycare, dog park trips? Extra walks with dog walkers? The answer: you don’t. You discriminated against her based on her size.”