With Racial Slur, Petco Employee Allegedly Asks Customer To Leave

The customer, a dog trainer who regularly used the facility, said she was shocked by the treatment she received as she had asked permission to use the space in advance.

A dog trainer from Iowa City took to Facebook to report an incident involving an allegedly racist Petco employee.

The story is sad, to say the least — and also extremely confusing.

Chelsey Montgomery, a 22-year-old dog trainer who is black, went to the 2515 Corridor Way store at 8 p.m. Thursday to train her dog. A female employee allegedly asked her to leave.

Montgomery told news organizations that the employee used racial slurs when addressing her.

“She approached me and said I need to get out, and I said, 'Excuse me?'” Montgomery said. The employee then responded, “'Your kind is not welcome here,' and asked me to leave again."

The pet trainer added that the employee proceeded to use a racial slur after telling her to get out.

As Montgomery declined to leave the establishment, the employee then called the police to give the pet trainer a trespass warning. 

Coralville Police Chief Shane Kron said the employee wanted “a female removed that is soliciting her services,” and that the trainer was given a trespass warning. Once the police arrived, officers had a brief interaction with Montgomery and then asked her to leave.

“Business is no different than a private residence. You can ask somebody not to be there, so they asked her to leave and told her she was not allowed back on the property,” Kron told reporters.

At the time of the interaction, Kron said, Montgomery did not say the employee had been racist toward her. Nevertheless, Petco spokesperson Stephanie Wilson said that the store is looking into the incident.

“At Petco we take all guest concerns very seriously, … We have been made aware of a customer complaint involving our Coralville location and are conducting a thorough investigation.”

Montgomery, who operates a local company known as Knallhart Kennels and Training Academy, a facility that specializes in service and dog obedience, said that she is a regular customer at Petco where she routinely brings dogs for training. She also said she had contacted the store's corporate office prior to the entire incident to make sure she had permission to train her dog there.

Despite taking precautions before her trips to Petco to make sure they were always OK with her training her dogs there, she said that similar incidents with the company's employees had been happening for the past two months.

“I'm not a person that wants to break the law,” Montgomery stated. “It's just so unfortunate that this has happened the way that it has, and if their policy truly is that they can kick anyone out of their store at any time for any reason, I think it needs to be changed.”

While private organizations should be able to uphold their right to refuse service to anyone, customers are also free to uphold their right to boycott organizations that run their businesses in ways that discriminate against anyone on the basis of color, gender, or even religion.

Hopefully, the investigation into this matter will prove enlightening in the sense that we'll be able to learn more about the reasons why this black customer has been having a hard time going to Petco. 

Banner and thumbnail credit: Flickr, François Philipp

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