Dog-Walkers to Client: "We Don't Walk Dogs for People Who Want Marijuana Legalized"

sad_dog.jpg
Noël Zia Lee/Wikimedia
Will somebody please walk me? Please?
When news of a Girl Scout selling cookies outside a Colorado marijuana dispensary went viral last month, it had far-reaching consequences for a St. Louis family: They were "fired" from the dog-walking service they had been a customer of for years.

It all started when Tricia Moyer, a mother of two and a Girl Scout troop leader, thought the idea of a thirteen-year-old with the business sense to sell delicious Thin Mints outside of a marijuana dispensary was funny. So she did what tens of thousands of other Americans did and shared a photo on Facebook.

Tricia didn't realize that the owners of her dog-walking service -- Pack Leader, Plus Inc. -- are devout Christians who don't believe there was anything funny about it at all.

"[We] were upset by the pic with the Girls Scouts selling cookies outside of a government-funded drug house because they knew a bunch of whacked-out dope fiends would buy a bunch of cookies," said Tom Ziegler, co-owner of Pack Leader, Plus, told the Moyers in an e-mail. "We think this is appalling and not funny or cute."

And so the Zieglers decided to end their business relationship with the Moyers.

"We have a zero-tolerance policy," Tom Ziegler tells us. "We don't tolerate any drug users or people who think drugs are OK. Just like we wouldn't tolerate child molesters or rapists, we don't tolerate drugs."

See also: Stray Rescue: 22 Dogs Rescued from North, East, South St. Louis This Weekend

Ziegler further explains that it's simply his faith and his beliefs, and he won't bend, not for man or government.

But Shawn Moyer says he and his wife don't even do drugs. They do believe that marijuana should be legalized, but that's about as far as it goes.

"Having that position and having the inside of your home look like Cheech and Chong's are two different things," Shawn says.

He also says that not doing business with someone based on their political beliefs is a form of discrimination.

"It's not that different than saying one only does business with Democrats or Republicans," he says. "I'm an atheist, and I overlook the fishes on the windows at the dry cleaners."

Shawn says they would normally just find another dog-walking service, but their two dogs have special walking needs. The dogs are rescues and had been abused and neglected for years before the Moyers adopted them. One result of that prior abuse was they had never been taught to walk normally, so they have to be run.

See also: Coon Dog Rescued from Illinois Cave; Canine Spent Three Days Trapped in Narrow Cavern

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Shawn Moyer
Moyer says the dogs need to be ran like this.

"The way I can make the dogs cope is to run them on a bike," Shawn Moyer says. "So I have two bike leashes I attach to a mountain bike and I run them a couple miles per day on the bike. And Brooke and Tom were the only ones we could find that were willing to do that."

And now the dogs don't have anybody to walk them when the Moyers go on vacation.

This comes just a few days after Arizona governor Jan Brewer vetoed a controversial bill that would have allowed private businesses to refuse services to people based on their religious beliefs. The bill was widely described as a way to legalize discrimination against gays and non-Christian religions.

Here in Missouri, state legislator Wayne Wallingford introduced a so-called "religious freedom" bill that also would have allowed people to refuse services based on religious beliefs.

See also: Sen. Wayne Wallingford Is Having A Really Hard Time Defending His Religious Freedom Bill

So we ask you, dear readers: Should a business be allowed to refuse customers based on his or her stance on marijuana?

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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292 comments
John Null
John Null

People are also killed in car accidents by people who were driving sober.

William Riddle
William Riddle

Turning water into wine is one thing but...Reefer Madness!!!

Joe Johnson
Joe Johnson

Fuck em its a free market take your money and business elsewhere and the market will do the rest

Pamela Gemmell
Pamela Gemmell

My mom was killed by a guy driving very high on marijuana. Head on collision she died instantly he lived! So I wouldn't dogs for users and they wouldn't walk my dogs either.

DeVon L Jackson
DeVon L Jackson

Privately owned business they have a right to refuse that even if somebody wants to be a bigot and refuse LGBT crowd still there right to refuse I'm a redneck and if I walked in and somebody said hey no gun totin camouflage assholes in here. I'd just walk out and choose not to patronize a business. You guys go to huff and puff and stomp your feet like children.

Scott Calhoun
Scott Calhoun

If you read the story, it actually says no other businesses were willing to cater to their dogs habits... They have to be ran a few miles, on a bike...

Teri Hubbard
Teri Hubbard

I bet that changes when it's legalized and they lose all their business!

Laura Cross Worth
Laura Cross Worth

I would not want people like that anywhere near my pets nor would I want to put money in their pockets

Tara Broadway
Tara Broadway

What does that have to do with Walking a dang Dog.. ugggh

David Mclaughlin
David Mclaughlin

I wonder if they walk dogs for people who've been divorced?

Paul Glandt
Paul Glandt

Has to hurt walking around with that Bible stuck up their ass

Paul Glandt
Paul Glandt

Get the hell over it,its just a harmless plant. In the words of the Great Bugs Bunny what a maroon

Robert Ora Lowe
Robert Ora Lowe

Sean, Christians have evolved a great deal since the days of the bible. Only someone delusional wouldn't know this. You really aren't bright enough to see how stupid your bigotry makes you look. It is equally as bad to shit on someone's religious beliefs as it is to force your belief on others. You are such a bitter, small minded, intolerant libtard moron!

Tony Balogna
Tony Balogna

NBD, there are plenty of other options available.

Holly Hamilton
Holly Hamilton

Not all Christians believe every word of the Bible.

Sean Gremaud
Sean Gremaud

Have you read the bible? If they are devout christians as they say...then they absolutely are okay with it. God committed, ordered and condoned all of those crimes - many times. Only another delusional could defend them.

Rick Rios
Rick Rios

Didn't realize dog walking was so lucrative you could pick and choose your clientele haha

Andy Lamont
Andy Lamont

So this was a year ago; did the dog owners ever find replacement walkers? It's probably for the best, not giving business to whacked-out nut jobs like that.

Robert Ora Lowe
Robert Ora Lowe

No they aren't okay with any of that. However, they are okay with judging people using their religion and forcing their obsession on others. I don't approve of drug use but not enough to force my beliefs on others. People like that, make all believers look bad.

Sean Gremaud
Sean Gremaud

They're ok with murder, rape, slavery and many other despicable acts, though.

Joe Parrish
Joe Parrish

Pack Leaders, inc. They have the right to refuse service, no matter how stupid their reason. And this IS a stupid reason.

Robert Ora Lowe
Robert Ora Lowe

I'll never understand people who go though life with a bible jammed up their ass.

Mack Kirk
Mack Kirk

Whacked out dope fiends? Come on, RFT give it up.. These are Reefer Madness characters right? Right...?

Mark Alan McRoberts
Mark Alan McRoberts

To borrow a phrase if they pass the religious get to discriminate bill we can expect more of this stupidity. Talk about letting the cat out of the bag.

Mike Goose Miller
Mike Goose Miller

Lol I know there are some heads out there that walk dogs. crazy world we're living in

Will Hampel
Will Hampel

I don't want my dog to bark at black people for no reason when it gets back from a walk.

Alex Steven
Alex Steven

Great way to ruin his own business. Well done.

jbeude1
jbeude1

Typical of the Christian Taliban in their hatred spewing ways so similar to Islamic Taliban they must try to force everyone to live under the thumb of their convoluted religious beliefs.

Serafino Skyler Bland
Serafino Skyler Bland

They could probably find potheads willing to undercut your business, honestly.

lynwooddesigns
lynwooddesigns

It really is no ones business what you believe or how you live or whatever...as long as you are not infringing in their space or pushing your beliefs into their life, they really have no right to "retaliate". Mean spirited people are becoming more and more prevalent it's sad to say... 

joannecone26
joannecone26

OMG, what's next, not doing business with people because of the color of their hair, their eyes, they're overweight, they're too skinny?  Did the dog walking company have a "morals" clause in their contract with they Moyers?  Whatever happen to those good Christians who just prayed for those they perceived to have "lost their way"? 

mrstooie
mrstooie

So ... someone won't walk their dogs because they don't like their beliefs about pot ... I have no sympathy at all for people who are this sensitive that they resort to using the power of the word discrimination to hurt someone they disagree with.  It wouldn't matter if they were actual kids ... what the heck, wouldn't you rather work with someone that cares?  Why do you have to make it a story so that others also bash this person for their religious beliefs.  So many intolerant people in this world ... just disagree and go on.  The less tolerant people in my view are the ones who can't move on ... and it's almost always because it's a Christian.  I have no problem if you  lean left and are an atheist or your moral basis is somewhere other than a religious faith, but why do you care?  So this person was wondering why ... if they were that concerned, most people have telephones, call them up.  I think the problem is that too many that were bullied as a child, became adults who decide it's okay to bully back.   Now we have this society belief that if you are offended for any reason it's okay to ridicule, bash, offend them back and even sue.   I don't have to post my beliefs on the door for them to be valid.   

People wonder why there is so much hate in the world.  This right here is a perfect example why. 

mrstooie
mrstooie

@ricomarcolo @mrstooie All the evidence says it was a good business, the people evidently trusted them with their babies, so why would you call them crappy?  Your attitude is part of the problem, one where people only know how to deal with disagreement in harness and hate.  Your response is why this type of attack, rather than just moving on, has been so successful.  You beat people down and they give in.   If all you want are people around you who say yes to everything you say and stroke your ego, that's your choice, but a sad way to life a life, you will miss so much with this outlook.  Tolerance is not presence of agreement, it's the lack of hate for those you disagree with.

mrstooie
mrstooie

@ricomarcolo @mrstooie Sure, it sounds pretty stupid ... but again, why hate on someone because you think they are stupid??  I don't get that.  Just let it go ... and why does it matter where they found out?  Just because we don't agree with it and it doesn't rise to the level of reasonableness should be a reason to claim discrimination ... to me that is stupid ... but I'm not gonna sue over it.

mrstooie
mrstooie

@ricomarcolo @mrstooie Just the fact you would use the phrase a free pass itself automatically implies their belief has no validity.   That is a loaded phrase ... so I'll play ... yes, they get a free pass.  They were not hateful, the did not cause any harm, they did not keep anyone from enjoying their God given freedoms or if you hate God, then we can agree they did not violate any legal freedoms ... where is the injury?  Are there no other dog walkers?  (I'll answer that, yes, there are hundreds most likely)  I'll give you a free pass for being so angry and hateful, because for some reason you just can't stand it when a person of Christian faith does something "stupid".  It's not like the person was Fred Phelps.  Their belief is that God does not like the use of drugs for intoxication, and while wine clearly was accepted in ancient times (the conversion of water to wine was of course Jesus' first miracle) it's abuse and overuse has never been good.  

Once again, you can't reply without use name calling and put downs.  Why is that?

mrstooie
mrstooie

@ShawnMoyer @mrstooie I agree, Jesus, while of course he judged, that was part of his job after all, taught kindness and forgiveness, just look at the story of the lady at the well that had been with many men, not something He was okay with but was still forgiving.   In proper context, he would have walked the dogs but would have also taught the "sinners" what they were doing wrong.  While personally I have had the discussion with friends on legalization of pot, the point to me is not that the dog walker was right or not, in our view, it's their belief that is important to them and they stuck to that - without injuring anyone, more than I can say for many people I come across that bend and fold at the least bit of provocation.  They did nothing wrong, the only crime is having offended someone ... and then people piled on top derision simply because they were offended.  It's that I wish people would quit doing.  Argue your point without tearing down the other person, that's my bottom line. 

ShawnMoyer
ShawnMoyer

@mrstooie Well, I'm pretty sure my wife was the one that offended someone and started this whole carnival ride. And calling us criminals and drug users sure seems like tearing down the other person to me. 

I'm sorry you feel bad for these people, I suppose I do too. Perhaps if they'd contented themselves with a simple "no comment" they'd have been better off. The last I checked, they were still commenting on every negative review on Yelp and elsewhere and calling everyone who left a review "Pro-drug and Anti-Christian". Uh, guys? Not helping.

As has been said, I'm not a Christian, but if I were I don't think I'd want these folks framing other people's view of that faith. 

ricomarcolo
ricomarcolo

@mrstooie The rest of your response is a mess. I'm gathering that you are implying that it is intolerant of me to have a problem with intolerance? Or does the business get a free pass because they played the "It's my religion!" card? If I told you my religion forbids me to give tolerance a free pass, would you be as charitable to me as you are to those nimrod dogwalkers?

ricomarcolo
ricomarcolo

@mrstooie @ricomarcolo All the evidence? Like what, refusing to serve a customer over a FACEBOOK post??? Great business practice, that. If that is what you consider a good business, you sure have low standards of customer service. 

ricomarcolo
ricomarcolo

@mrstooie A crappy business with crappy business practices got exposed. Cry me a river. THEY are the morons who injected their faith into it. 

ShawnMoyer
ShawnMoyer

@mrstooie Just so you know, these comments above aren't from me or anyone I know. I *did* find someone else to take care of my dogs. Interestingly, that person is someone of deep religious faith, who doesn't approve of Tom and Brooke's behavior either. Imagine that.

I just wanted people to know about Pack Leader Plus' behavior because I think it's not a good way to run a business or to live your life, no different than a business that refused to serve Led Zeppelin fans, or whatever. 

I don't have any problem with people of faith, many of my friends and family are devout practitioners of many stripes. Still, I don't think people people of faith should behave this way. 


As someone else already posted, Jesus would have walked anybody's dogs, don't you think?

slchlubna
slchlubna

@ShawnMoyer @mrstooie Good for you, Shawn.  I own a small business and much of my new business comes word-of-mouth from current customers. I have an open door policy for all.  The closest to discrimination I came was suspending an employee for being next-to rude to a same sex couple staying with me.

jbeude1
jbeude1

@mrstooie Hypocrite! The ones intolerant of others beliefs are the christians here in the US, they are discriminatory in every way. In private they can believe and do what they want, and then according to you its ok for them to force their beliefs on others but its unfair for anyone to disagree with them.....wow how typical of a Talibanesque belief. Be it christian, islamic or whatever this type of behavior should always be ridiculed and shamed. Why is there so much hate in the world you ask? Look at the ones cornering the market on hatred and bullying, the so called christians that decided they are the ones who get to place and force judgment on everyone, they are no better than the islamic extremists and should be treated the same.

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