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How to ask dog owners to keep their pets out of stores

Dogs in stores: What's the best way to ask pet owners to behave? @Davidlaz has the answer

What's the correct way to ask someone to remove their dog from a store?

That's a question I'm still being asked in response to an earlier Ask Laz about whether dogs are allowed in businesses, especially businesses that sell food.

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I acknowledged that I had been guilty in the past of taking my own dog into the supermarket.

After looking at the relevant federal, state and local laws, I concluded that "the impression you get is that non-service dogs aren't allowed in grocery stores or any other place that sells food."

But my admission that I'd taken my pooch shopping still has some people's bacon sizzling.

As Scott wrote to me last week: "If I see you bring a dog in a store, I will break you psychologically and then key your car."

I'm thinking I touched a nerve here.

"Worthless [expletive]," he wrote, "get off the [expletive] Internet and keep your [expletive] pooch out of places where food is served. You [expletive] sub-animal."

Thanks, Scott.

The thing about dogs in stores is that employees and managers are limited as to how they can respond. Basically, if someone says that their dog is a service animal, store workers can't challenge this assertion.

I've never done this, Scott, so please put your keys away. Moreover, I think it's way-uncool for anyone to claim that an ordinary dog is a service dog.

"There will always be pet owners who are unlawful, inconsiderate and think they can get away with bad behavior in the name of their pet," says etiquette expert Syndi Seid.

She advises politely asking dog owners to obey the rules, which is my advice as well.

That won't resolve all such situations. But I suspect many dog owners will respond positively to someone else's concerns and will learn -- as I did -- to not be irresponsible when it comes to canine comings and goings.

If you have a consumer question, email me at or contact me via Twitter @Davidlaz.

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