It is a truth universally acknowledged that people can get fucking obsessed with their pets. Whether it was your mate at school who got to re-sit her statistics GCSE because her cat died the night before, or that colleague who referrs to her Maltese puppy as “my daughter,” people form strong attachments to non-human companions.
One restaurant found this out the hard way this week after launching a photo competition that excluded certain pets from entering. Solita Restaurant in Manchester shared details of the contest on their Facebook page, asking followers to post the "best pic" of their pets, but stipulating “No pugs, rabbits or rats. (We don’t like them).”
Within hours of announcing the competition, the post had gone viral and the restaurant was inundated with bad reviews. According to local news website Mancunian Matters, Solita received 493 one-star Facebook reviews in the first 24 hours of sharing the competition, and had 502 one-star reviews at the time of writing. This brings its average on the site down to 3.2 stars.
Pug, rabbit, and rat fans also left comments on Solita’s Facebook page, expressing their outrage at the competition. Helen Partington wrote: “Anyone who discriminates doesn’t deserve our business”, while another commenter, Di Kelly, accused the company of being “racist” towards rats. Emma Burns delivered a big blow, writing: “I hope you get pooed on by all the pugs, rabbits and rats,” but Ruby Lopez took it one step further by commenting, “Fuck you! My pugs are the most beautiful beings in world I fucking dare you to argue about that.”
Solita, which serves American-style food, issued a response condemning those who had taken the no-pug photo rule so seriously. It wrote: “Our competitions are often tongue-in-cheek and this week’s, as other weeks, was no different with pugs, rats, and rabbits being excluded. Other weeks’ competitions have seen reptiles excluded for no particular reason.”
“Last night’s competition, however, took a different slant, with pug and rat owners leaving one-star Facebook reviews without dining at any of our restaurants,” the post continued.
“It wasn’t our intention to offend any person or animal and we apologise wholeheartedly if we have upset anyone. However, we believe that leaving one-star reviews to a business that employs 200 local people is unfair.”
The restaurant signed off the statement saying that they were “currently trying to get in touch with the head of the British Rat Appreciation society to extend apologies to them too.”