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Woman criticised hawker for serving customer with guide dog, contending “dogs are filthy’

SINGAPORE — A woman pasted a printed Google search result at a chicken rice stall in Toa Payoh, two days after accusing the hawker’s wife of not washing her hands after serving a visually-impaired customer with a guide dog.

The woman even allegedly remarked to the stall owner, Michael Poh, that “dogs are dogs, and all are filthy.”

The stall owner of Poh Kee Chicken Rice at Block 206 Toa Payoh North, Michael Poh, took to Facebook to share his encounter with the customer.

Woman claims stall owner’s wife did not wash hands after serving visually-impaired customer

According to Poh, the woman who visited their stall on last Friday (23 June) claimed that his wife had not washed her hands after serving the visually-impaired customer.

However, his wife denied the accusation, explaining that she was seated far from the stall, making it impossible for the woman to witness her washing inside.

Poh stepped in to address the issue and clarified that guide dogs are permitted in food shops, as stated in the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) regulations, regardless of whether it’s for dining in or takeaway.

Despite Poh’s explanation, the woman remained dissatisfied and threatened to make things difficult for him, asserting that “no matter what dog, dogs are dogs.”

“I know that I did not commit any offences hence did not hold on to the matter, ” Mr. Poh stated.

The lady pasted a printed screenshot of laws prohibiting dogs in food shops on the stall owner’s cash register table

However, on Saturday, a staff member from the coffee shop informed Mr. Poh that the woman had handed him a printed screenshot of laws prohibiting dogs in food shops.

Poh informed the staff member that it was the regular guide dog that visited his stall, and the matter had already been resolved.

Surprisingly, the woman later visited Poh’s stall when he was absent and discreetly affixed a copy of the same notice to his cash register table.

Expressing his frustration, Poh highlighted that the woman had trespassed on his private premises and engaged in acts of breaking and entering, vandalism, and harassment.

“Come on la, do u know that u are breaking the law and commiting a criminal offence? By entering private premises and pasting this notice, do u know that u have committed breaking and entering and vandalism ?”

“And by the advise of the Singapore Police Force, harassment will also be one of the offences added in.”

Mr. Poh stated that he has since filed a police report regarding the incident.

The woman allegedly told the stall owner “all dogs are filthy”

In the comment section of the Facebook post, a netizen questioned whether the woman was unaware of the regulations concerning guide dogs. In response, Mr. Poh added that the woman apparently knew about guide dogs but still insisted that “dogs are dogs, all are filthy…”

Singapore government and authorities support guide dogs in food retail establishments and public transportation

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has stated that guide dogs are permitted in food retail establishments.

To demonstrate its support for guide dogs, the Government of Singapore has enacted regulations under the Environmental Public Health Act (Food Hygiene) Regulations (Chapter 95, Section 113), Regulation 29.

These regulations allow guide dogs to enter all F&B establishments, including Halal-certified ones, as stated by the National Environmental Agency (NEA) and the SFA.

In a joint circular issued by the Singapore Food Agency, the Ministry of Social and Family Development, and SG Enable, food retail operators were reminded that guide dogs are legally allowed in food retail establishments according to current legislation.

Furthermore, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) Mass Rapid Transit permits guide dogs on all public transportation, as specified in Regulation 8(1), (3) of the Rapid Transit Systems Regulations (Cap 263A).

A visually-impaired swimmer rejected to enter a Subway Outlet in 2020

In 2020, an incident at a Subway outlet in Kallang Wave Mall sparked viral attention on social media.

Sophie Soon, a visually-impaired swimmer, encountered rejection when attempting to enter the store, as staff allegedly “refused to allow” her access.

Adding to the distressing encounter, Soon claimed that the staff not only “yelled” at her but also refused to engage in conversation.

The staff cited Subway’s status as a Halal restaurant and asserted that guide dogs were not supported by the Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS).

Following the incident, Subway reached out to Soon and issued an apology for the distressing encounter.

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