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    Should I Allow Dogs in My Store?

    QL "Some owners and trainers are bringing in large dogs, and several at a time. Yesterday, we had three people and three dogs parking themselves in our food-sampling area and hung out for too long. Some small dogs of customers are more than welcome, and obviously, service dogs come into the shop. How do you state who's welcome and who's not?"

    A: I'm a dog guy, and I like dogs, but I don't want to have any dog by my food in a store. I think, unless they're service animals, you don't want them in the store. That's me.

    The Food and Drug Administration's Food Guide lays down the law: with few exceptions, live animals of any kind are not permitted on the premises of a grocery store, a restaurant or other food establishment. The prohibition applies to dogs, cats, birds and other animals.

    I think it's black and white.

    But you can't say, "Oh, well, certain breeds are okay and certain breeds aren't." I don't think that's going to help. I don't think it's manageable.

    And certainly, it's going to end up probably putting one of your employees in a bind because they won't know if the beagle is okay, but the basset hound isn't.

    Then what about the Russian wolfhound? And they don't know the breeds.

    Frankly, I think the reason why that happens is that we don't have a strong policy. And so, a few of your employees let people come in, and frankly, especially around food, I just think it's an absolute.

    My understanding is you can ask a dog owner whether the dog is a service dog and what function the dog performs, but you can't require the owner to show you proof of his disability or the dog's status as a service animal. If you really want to understand your state specifics, contact your local health department or attorney.

    I say no animals, unless they are service animals. 

    See also, What does good customer service look like?

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    Should I Allow Dogs in My Store?