Grocery Store Reminds Customers: ‘No Pets Allowed’

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The Publix grocery store chain recently riled some by posting signs in front of their stores with a bold headline: ‘No Pets Allowed.’

When Publix recently gave notice to over-eager dog owners about a “new” policy, some balked. The signs out front of Publix stores read in large type, “No pets allowed.”

At the store nearest me, there are three different signs. The first, a smaller one placed inside the window, states, “Under applicable law: No pets allowed.” In smaller type, it adds, “Only service animals are permitted.”

This sign is posted inside the window and visible from the parking lot.

The second type is a tall columnar design. They place those over one of the poles that keep drivers from parking in the fire lane. This one has a bit more information on it, including

This sign is placed over poles that prevent cars from illegally blocking the entrance in the parking lane.

It cites a section of the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Code. The FDA Food Code is an extensive document that establishes safety protocols for businesses.

The third type is a taller, wider sign that lists even more details about the regulation.

Chapter 6, Section 501.115 does prohibit live animals on the premises of a food establishment. While you may think of a “food establishment” as a restaurant, grocery stores like Publix have deli sections that prepare food. There are conditions in which you can bring a live animal in. But you can’t bring Fido to the grocery store just because you feel like it.

Signs prompt mixed reactions

A woman named Sandra wrote a Facebook claiming a manager escorted her and her Bichon Frise out of a Publix.

“I explained it’s 100° and I was not going to leave my my dog in the car to die of heat exhaustion,” she wrote.

I feel glad she realized it would be wrong to leave the dog in a hot car. But I find it a bit disturbing that she couldn’t problem-solve further than that. The real solution here was to leave the dog at home.

A Facebook user named Clay, on the other hand, had a different take. He said he might just have to make Publix his “go-to” grocery store.

“Why does it even have to be said? Because some of you all are just too damn stupid to leave your dogs at home for a little while like you’re so attached to them,” he said.

Someone named Frank said the rule makes sense to him.

“It’s not a pet store, leave them home for a few minutes. It won’t kill them,” he wrote.

A Facebook user named Kevin said he has Pit Bulls that he takes almost everywhere.

“But even without this rule, I’ve never taken one to a grocery store,” he said. “Just common sense, dude.”

Indeed, dude.

I know some folks actually ‘Emotional Support Animals’

When I posted about this elsewhere, a friend from Richmond pointed out an important point. She said emotional support animals aren’t fake and serve a legitimate purpose.

My daughter has an ESA and she has been a big help to her esp when she was in college. While an ESA is not the same as a Service Dog, they do have their place as therapeutic support.

I agree. I agree completely.

Unfortunately, there are people who do not have the same kind of need for an emotional support animal. That’s why you can apparently order ESA “documentation” online to make a pet look like an “official” ESA. That’s abuse of a system that’s designed to help people who really need help.

There are people with dogs labelled as ESAs whose dogs aren’t trained for any kind of therapy. Their dogs, while certainly precious to them, don’t know how to behave in public situations. It’s those people who abuse a privilege that casts a dark shadow on people who actually legitimately need the kind of support a real service dog can provide.

Beyond that, the FDA’s rule doesn’t seem to recognize ESAs. (Or else I’m misreading it.)

It seems to me we need a way to officially license ESAs after requiring specific classes and socialization. That would at least stop people who just want an excuse to bring their four-legged darlings everywhere when they could just as easily leave them at home and survive just fine.

Don’t blame Publix for this ‘no pets allowed’ rule

No one loves dogs more than I do. My breed of choice, of course, is the Rough Collie. But I’d never take my Collie into a grocery store. He’s perfectly content to remain in air conditioning at home.

This is a simple matter of common sense. If I had him with me and I realized I needed to go to the grocery store, I’d take him home first and then go to the grocery store. Or I’d grab my trusty smartphone and find a grocery store that shops for me and allows me to stay in my car while they bring me the groceries.

Those are two solutions to the problem right there.

I certainly wouldn’t stop shopping there because of a rule like this. What would make me not shop at a Publix is its prices. But that’s another story.

Unfortunately, stores are too cowardly to enforce this long-standing policy. I recently visited a Food Lion, the closest grocery store to my home. In walks a customer with her precious dog. It didn’t have any “service dog” harness. It clearly wasn’t a service dog. I asked an employee if something had changed and people were allowed to bring dogs in now. She shrugged and said, “Well, they do it.”

No one made any effort to approach her about the dog.

This is a federal guideline, folks. If you want to take it out on Publix, that’s your problem. Maybe more stores will work up the guts to follow the FDA regulation and prevent this foolishness.

It shouldn’t be this difficult.

the authorPatrick
Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.

1 Comment

  • I totally agree. We get most of our groceries at Walmart because they are the cheapest. Lately I’ve seen several dogs in there. I can’t believe it.

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