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home : opinions : letters February 06, 2016

6/14/2012 10:08:00 PM
Letter: Grocery carts are no place for dogs


Does anyone agree with me that grocery carts are no place for dogs? I understand service animals, but how can a dog be of service when it is riding in the grocery cart? It certainly is not reading labels or guiding you.

People do silly things with pets, such as dress them up, put them in parades, etc. - behaviors that are harmless and do not infringe on the health and safety of others. Pushing a dog in a grocery cart is wrong, selfish and a health risk as a source of contamination to food products. I put my groceries in that cart after you. Keep your dogs out of it.

One major grocery store in Prescott Valley is especially guilty of allowing dogs to ride in the carts and roam the store aisles with their owners. I happen to be a dog lover, but would not dream of taking my pet into a store that sells food products. Where is the common decency and common sense in this rude behavior?

There also are people who, for their own reasons, are afraid of dogs. How is that fair to them for a store to allows this practice?

Missy Lee


Related Stories:
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• Letter: Dog owners are insensitive; please, don't blame the dogs
• Letter: More important problems exist than dirty carts

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014
Article comment by: Krys Archabald

I have a service dog who goes everywhere I go. To the store, hospital, public transit without problems. Yes I do encounter the idiot here and there who has to know exactly what she is for and usually I will tell them without going into personal health issues.
This one woman I can't seem to get off my mind. A lady in an antique store who insisted I put my 100 pound dog in a grocery cart. I explained it was not going to happen for obvious reasons, I need her at my side. She insisted and when I said "no" she called the police.
I was not asked to leave. She did get educated by the local police department as I continued to look around. If my dog had broke something then yes I would have stepped up and paid for the item or made arrangements to do so.

So you see the shoe does fit on the other foot

Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Article comment by: Bob Evan

Must stores permit a service dog to ride in a shopping cart?
Sun, 03/10/2013 - 23:26 Kirsten The short answer is: No, businesses do not have to permit dogs, including service dogs, in the shopping carts owned by the business.

This is partly an issue of fundamental alteration and partly one of reasonableness. It is also an issue of professionalism and image.

From http://www.ada.gov/t3hilght.htm
Public accommodations must ... make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures that deny equal access to individuals with disabilities, unless a fundamental alteration would result in the nature of the goods and services provided.

The fundamental purpose of the cart is to transport merchandise, not dogs. Co-opting the cart from that purpose to transport a dog changes the nature of the service being provided (the cart).

In addition, the the business is not required to provide services or equipment for the dog, just to permit the dog to accompany the disabled owner the dog is trained to assist.
From http://www.ada.gov/qasrvc.htm

Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Article comment by: @ know the law & Linda Clark

"Under the law a service animal is NOT a pet, stores are allowed to ask for proof that the animal is a service animal, but the owner is not required to provide."

Actually, no one can legally ask for "proof" that an animal (always a dog now per law) is a "service dog". Those at work in a public place can ask two questions of the human half of a service dog team entering or within that business. "Is that a service dog? Is that your service dog?" That's it.

I personally think it's a good idea to carry small sheets of paper on which the most recent, least-restrictive (and therefore currently-applicable) laws governing service dogs are detailed. You can hand them to any employee questioning you. It can also be helpful to have a laminated photo ID for your dog, although it will look a tad like a driver's license and may evoke imagery of your canine companion cruising down Gurley. While a vest is optional, a dog wearing one will tend to be more accepted. Also, putting the vest on is a signal to the dog that it's time to go to work.

"If management is not allowed to ask about a person's disability, what's to stop us as patrons to ask, then ask those in noncompliance to comply. They might get a little huffy, but it'll make you feel alot better to voice your opinion."

Would you enjoy having your fellow shoppers repeatedly asking about your personal health? Can you imagine suffering from a debilitating physical disease that isn't always readily apparent and being subjected to query after query from demanding strangers who are angered by fake service dogs and think it's their job to make sure yours is the real deal? Believe me, no one resents posers more than those who have actual service dogs. Please don't add to already-heavy loads.

Posted: Wednesday, July 04, 2012
Article comment by: Mrs Snodgrass

Here is a thought USE THE SANITIZING WIPES PROVIDED BY THE STORE and clean your own damn shopping cart! Guess what? Problem solved! I have what some descibe as a "nasty child" which is totally offensive to me, as a responsible parent I use a cart protector to protect my child from all your germs after sanitizing the cart! Here is also another thought the ppl who are complaining I would think your would be more concerned with the ppl being released from the hospital with oh say MRSA and touching,sneezing, and coughing on your produce and other groceries! The smart thing to do is use universal precautions and protect YOU! I don't really agree with pets being allowed in grocery stores and feel putting my son in the same cart is not a big deal because I CLEAN the cart and PROTECT my son from whatever germs you or dogs leave in the cart! Its called being responsible! Hopefully you all can find something worthwhile to complaine about, have a great day!

Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012
Article comment by: spade = not thinking

Spade, a store IS private property, most are leased and while they lease it they are allowed to set the rules on their property, which is why they can have the police legally trespass someone off the property or refuse service and set their own hours and have a vehicle towed out of the parking lot without police involvement. Just like rented house is the renters private property. Try reading a law book, or looking at our supreme courts decisions.

Furthermore, these properties are usually leased from private corporations, not always and not usually the state. Still making it private property.

Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012
Article comment by: know the law

Under the law a service animal is NOT a pet, stores are allowed to ask for proof that the animal is a service animal, but the owner is not required to provide. The reason for this is sometimes, especially people with severe disabilities tend to forget a piece of paper explaining how their dog is a service animal. As far as being in the cart is involved, babies are a far greater issue. They poop and pee wherever they are and will wipe their dirty hands on everything. This is not justification but you will have a much higher chance of getting sick from an infant than the very very few dogs you see in carts.

Posted: Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Article comment by: A spade is a spade

Once again a store is not private property, a parking lot which provides the entrance to any store is public property and nearly all stores are leased and the land is rented out as well. If you are going to engage in critical thinking, make sure you understand what you are speaking about.

Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012
Article comment by: How about a little critical thinking exercise for some of you

Store = private property.
They allow on their property what they allow.
You don't like it, you don't go to that store.

See how easy that was Missy et al, unless, of course, you feel compelled to whine about it online instead. The world doesn't actually revolve around you.

Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012
Article comment by: Tally Bahn

Frankly, I'm more offended and concerned about the health issues presented by people putting their filthy children in diapers in shopping carts. Not to mention when they plop their nasty kid on the counter while they pay.

Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012
Article comment by: Bless You,

"For those who truly need such benefits, God bless you and please enjoy the help you deserve."

God bless YOU.

Can you imagine the frustration of having a genuine service dog in a town in which ill-behaved canines and their dishonest human counterparts abound? Your dog has to prove himself (or herself) everywhere he goes, which, happily, doesn't take long if he is sweet-natured, calm, eager to please and has been thoroughly trained. Oh, by the way, businesses are permitted to eject a service dog that is causing a legitimate problem, such as barking during a movie. And its owner is responsible for any damage the dog may cause, like breaking something. But incidents like that are VERY rare with true service dogs. Those dogs are trained and socialized from birth, and cut from programs for flaws as seemingly-innocuous as seeking pets from strangers or chasing birds, because doing so could cause a human partner to fall. Even a long, sweeping tail can net them a 4-F! (Flunked would-be service dogs generally become home companion dogs for those with disabilities, therapy dogs or the pets of the wonderful volunteers who raised them.)

Personally, I wouldn't mind carrying a card documenting public access rights to go practically anywhere in public with a service dog. BTW, the person, not the dog, possesses those rights. But my health information is my own and I wouldn't detail any physical limitations to a greeter at Wal-Mart. Nor should such information be provided to anyone else without my specific permission. Think "HIPAA". Hint: It's not an animal that lumbers through African waters.

A pet that merely makes someone feel safer in public is indeed not, legally, a psychological service dog. Snakes, bunnies and other critters were disqualified from service in April, 2011, when the definition of "service animal" was limited to DOGS that perform taskS to mitigate their humans' disabilities. We're talking here about picking up fumbled items, opening doors, fetching a canned beverage with which to take medicine, bringing a family member from another part of the house, dialing 911 with a special canine phone, carrying light grocery bags and providing counter-balance by wearing a harness with a steadying handle to grasp. These animals are God-given, freedom-providing, true-blue friends for those with proven need. The application process for a dog from a service dog agency is rigorous, the wait for a canine companion is usually measured in years, a two-week boot camp is generally required and, even with individual fund-raising and donations to the agency, families often pony up thousands of dollars for a dog they do not get to choose.

And all those fakers are making life more difficult for those who need "service", after having FINALLY been paired with the real McCoy. To those selfish people I say, "Uh, uh. Leave it.. Go to bed. Stay...............Okay. Release."

Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012
Article comment by: trippetta able

I have to agree, I grew up with an older brother who suffered severe asthma that was triggered by all animals with fur or feathers (it's the dander not the fur) and often on family vacations he would end up having to sleep in the car because their had been pets in the hotel before we got there. Point is it's really not fair not just to those who have a fear of dogs (which is the sillier side of the argument really, I have an irrational fear of flies which are everywhere, but it doesn't stop me from being at the store) but to those who suffer severe asthma to these animals

Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012
Article comment by: Linda Clark

I also agree with Missy Lee. If management is not allowed to ask about a person's disability, what's to stop us as patrons to ask, then ask those in noncompliance to comply. They might get a little huffy, but it'll make you feel alot better to voice your opinion. What is it going to take to put a stop to these non-service animals...urination on a box of cereal?

Posted: Saturday, June 16, 2012
Article comment by: Seriously . . .

When these people get their service dogs, do they not receive papers attesting to the fact that it is indeed a "service dog"? If so, why is it so politically incorrect for them to have to carry the paper with them, and show it when asked. The lack of enforcement in this country is beginning to stink. And yes, the people in this area are anal (sorry, couldn't resist) about taking their dogs everywhere. Bet most of them would be happier at home.

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012
Article comment by: J ROGERS

How about a service cat, snake, etc?
How about a library. A friend who is a dog owner was in the Prescott library a month ago. He told me he quietly went by a dog who was next to the owner. He got bit.
Seriously where does it end.

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012
Article comment by: Laurie Vesper

Thank you, Missy, for tackling a subject which has become rather bothersome for me (and many others it appears). I consider myself to be a lover of all animals and love to see them where they are appropriate.
I have witnessed a Chihuahua brought into a restaurant and put on the table. When I brought the subject up to the manager, the response was that they were not allowed to question the person's disability. When it was pointed out to the manager that the dog in question had been put on the table, they replied that they had not been made aware of that fact. As I then explained to the manager, a service dog is most often trained to sit patiently by the owner's feet until they are needed for their next task, not to be put on a table at a sit-down restaurant because they are cute.
I, too, have witnessed dogs in shopping carts or on the soccer field that is clearly marked "no dogs" per Arizona Revised Statutes or City of Prescott policy. Would you like your child to be running through the urine or feces while playing soccer? Or what about the pesticides you subject your dog to when you take them on that soccer field?
Use common sense folks! It really does work when used properly.

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012
Article comment by: Fear and Loathing Dirty Dogs

Thought I would let you all know that when I researched this after seeing a dogs being dried off in a food cart as if they had just been showered somewhere, I talked to store staff who said it was a sensitive subject so I wrote to the Corp offices ... and asked them what the deal was, they are powerless to do anything about this no matter what they think, all the dog lover needs to say is that it is an assistance animal. The federal laws giving access to these animals in all businesses supersedes any local or state laws. In other words, the feds are saying "suck it up". I will agree with the writer who said the filthy kids are worse germ wise. I wont swim in public pools for the same reason. I remember seeing food stores in California steam cleaning their carts in the wee hours of the morning, its a great idea and I don't know of any germs that will stand up to steam cleaning. So get used to it, but dog owners, if you just don't want to leave your dog to die in the hot car you should leave them at home. Then they can annoy all your neighbors while you're gone by barking their insufferable little heads off.

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012
Article comment by: You think that's bad?

I recently went for lunch at a recently opened fast food restaurant ... and was waiting in line to order. I then noticed that the woman ordering her food at the counter was holding a dog in her arms. She then proceeded to eat in the packed dining area with the dog on her lap. This is very unsanitary and unacceptable. The manager was present and didn't say a word. I'm sure the Department of health would have plenty to say. I am a dog owner and yes, we do treat her like a member of the family and spoil her. But we would never think of subjecting people to her in a general public setting. Get a clue people (and restaurant managers).

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012
Article comment by: To John Galt

Those "pull out seat thingees" are designed and meant for those "18 month old's as well as all other age human babies. Weren't you also once an 18 month old human baby with a soggy diaper? If it bothers you, don't put your groceries in the baby seat or feel free and sanitize with the wipes they provide, or bring your own. Humans of all ages, races, genders etc. should be more than welcome in all grocery stores. Animals have no place in grocery carts unless they are a service animal trained to assist a human being. Many people have allergies to animal's (myself included) and animals have no place in a grocery store.

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012
Article comment by: Here you go

It's true, one of the worst things in our society is how people abuse benefits and priviledges designated for those who are truly in need. There is a need for "service pets" in our society, just as there is a legitimate need for handicapped parking spaces, food stamps and many other things. But is the people who fraudulently gain access to such priviledges who are really the scourge of our society.

The people truly in need ultimately suffer because of reduced benefits and certainly the un-deserved scrutiny they receive because the population in general knows that there are so many other people abusing the system. If you or someone you know is using a benefit or "priviledge" and does not deserve or legitimately qualify for it, please know how low you/they are. Have fun, have a good laugh on me and the rest of us for what you're getting away with, but know you are disgusting. For those who truly need such benefits, God bless you and please enjoy the help you deserve.

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012
Article comment by: Concerned Consumers

We loudly applaud Missy Lee and most of the other commentary writers on this issue. In addition to the points about other shoppers' fears of dogs and allergies to dog dander, we would like to recommend that folks become more aware of another problem with placing dogs in shopping carts. If you are parents, place the words 'dogs' and 'MRSA' (the same type of antiobiotic resistant staph bacteria that is responsible for numerous unexpected deaths in hospital patients every year) into your browser search window. We highly doubt any parent who reads some of the scientific literature on this relatively newly discovered and quickly growing problem would ever feel comfortable letting their baby or young child ride in a shopping cart again if they know a store allows dogs ("service" or other) within the confines of the carts. Unfortunately, elderly and fragile shoppers are also vulnerable to this type of contamination--even if store employers (say that they) disinfect the cart after a dog has been in it ...

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012
Article comment by: Prescott Star

Dear Missy Lee, are you serious? One can contract more disease from the handle on a grocery cart than from a dog in a cart. Most dog to human related diseases are from the feces...and human feces is far more disease ridden...are you going to touch that? Humans can get far more sickness from a human child in a cart than a dog in a cart. You say you are a dog lover and if your dog lives in your home what is the difference in a dog in your home with food or in a store? NONE! Service dogs, for some, are the only thing between them and insanity and these dogs keep them active in society. They have become less dependent on the social welfare system since getting their service dogs. As far as people that are afraid of dogs, maybe they need a therapy dog to help them get over their phobias. To all of the posters and haters to come, I say, go volunteer somewhere, take that angry energy and make it turn into something good and positive you al spend far too much time in from of the computer getting mad at the letters and articles in this paper.

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012
Article comment by: I Agree....

I couldn't agree more. This is the only place I have lived where the grocery stores actually allow this to take place. I have a dog myself but would never dream of parading him around in a store. Many mornings, I go visit Safeway for my morning coffee and sure enough here comes the same lady holding her teacup dog, standing in line with the rest of us. After speaking with her, she informed me the dog is afraid in the car so she brings it in the store with her. Well, maybe she should leave it at home or not come to get her morning coffee. People should respect others and grocery stores should not allow dogs, unless it is a service animal.

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012
Article comment by: Grundle Cat

I don't honestly see how two or three kids in a cart is more sanitary than a dog, frankly. If you think that cart has a prayer of being sanitary under ANY circumstances you're crazy. They sit outside, get birds in them, children with runny noses etc (you think Mom wipes the cart down after her kids?) and their shoes on which have traipsed through who knows what. WASH YOUR FOOD. Leave the service dogs alone.

I have no hidden agenda... I'm a cat person. But I see how much service and therapy dogs benefit their owners. Many such dogs are entirely too small to be safe on the floor in a grocery store. Service dogs can tell if their owners are about to have a seizure, for instance they perform a wide variety of services, not just guiding the blind. One of them is providing a person with mental illness the security to go out to to a store in the first place.

Is having a dog in a grocery cart sanitary? No. Neither is letting kids ride in them. Since you can have no reasonable expectation of a cart being sanitary (have you noticed the disinfecting wipes the stores provide for the cart handles? They don't do this because the carts are sterile, trust me!) it's ridiculous to complain that someone's dog might contaminate it. I recommend you mind your own business and worry about keeping your own stuff clean.

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012
Article comment by: Totally Unsanitary

I had never seen as many dogs in public places until we moved to this area many years ago.
People in Prescott, Prescott Valley, Chino, Paulden feel the need to take them everywhere. Then they leave them in hot cars with a window cracked while they eat in an air conditioned restaurant or take them in while shopping in the malls in strollers or other retail establishments.
People need to leave their animals home where they belong and are more than likely way more comfortable in their familiar surroundings.
I am an animal lover and know my dogs and cats prefer to stay in their home where they belong.
We take them for walks at home not in the grocery store, etc.
People need to use their manners and be considerate of others for a change.

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2012
Article comment by: And Please Don't Abuse the Psyhological Service Dog Argument

It's a violation of state and federal law to gain public-access rights for your pet, on the premise it's a "service dog" because it provides you with "emotional support". That just doesn't cut it legally, even if you believe the support you feel in your pet's presence enables you to leave your home. Unless that dog is alerting a neighbor to, say, your hypomanic episodes and reminding you when to take your medication -- yes, there are actual psychological service dogs that perform such legally-qualifying "tasks" and more -- then you're breaking laws. You're also threatening the public access rights of those with actual service dogs.

Real service dogs, by the way, do not growl, pull on their leashes, rush people for pets, bark, move about frantically or act aggressively -- unless trained to do so ONLY on signal to ward off the crimes that shockingly proliferate against the physically vulnerable. But when a faux service dog engages in that sort of rude behavior publicly, it is annoying, potentially distracting to real service dogs, can fluster and endanger fragile handlers and wrongly give legit service dogs a bad name. By the way, the real deals tend to be larger, most often golden retrievers, labs or crosses thereof -- though other breeds and mixes do serve. Small "accessory" dogs are unlikely to be service dogs, unless they are real psych service dogs trained to perform tasks to mitigate their handlers' disability, or perhaps "hearing dogs" that alert their hearing-impaired handlers to doorbells, alarm clocks, a crying baby, etc.

While I'm at it, folks, please DON'T...pet a service dog without first obtaining clear permission, whistle or call out to get its attention, ask its handler why they need a service dog, slip the dog a treat or ask to see it perform "tricks". Give service dog teams a wide berth because the handler may be unsteady and/or delicate, and don't squeal, dive on the dog or stare. If you politely ask to pet the dog, and are told no, don't take it personally and complain, get angry or pout. Its handler might look healthy to you, but may be exhausted or simply not have the time for yet another conversation with a member of the public that day.

Bottom line: please leave Fido at home and never, ever try to pass him off as a service dog when he isn't. That includes therapy dogs, which are not service dogs, either. Therapy dogs perform a vital service by visiting places like hospitals and schools, but they have no legal public access rights, though some places of business choose to allow them entry for training purposes.

But I don't appreciate stores like Home Depot that allow any obnoxious dog through the door. I really wish they wouldn't, because nearly all of the dogs I've encountered there are yippy ankle-biters who act like they should be on doggy Prozac. I'll take True Value over that -- although I saw an accessory dog there recently and might change my position if that becomes the norm.

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