Does Your Local Market Prohibit Dogs? [SF Bay Area]

Federal (USFDA) law strictly prohibits live animals from food markets except for police dogs and service dogs. California law goes further, requiring service dogs to have identifying tags.

These laws seem almost universally disregarded in San Francisco, by customers and store staff alike, The only place have I even seen a sign posted advising of the law is at the Walgreen’s in Chinatown, which doesn’t have much of a dog problem to begin with (no jokes please!) and the defunct Bristol Farms Market in the Westfield mall, but they are the exceptions.

Other than not liking dogs generally (and they don’t like me), I haven’t given much thought to this (who wants to harass a granny with a chihuahua in her shopping cart?) but recently I was grossed out in the Safeway across from the Caltrain station. One customer had set his basket down while perusing the meat counter, and another customer’s huge dog (on a leash, but within range) was sniffing at the contents of the first customer’s basket.

Does your local market enforce the “no live animals” law?

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My favorite rant! The worst offender is the Ferry Plaza FM. Signs are clearly posted, and then ignored. Vendors do nothing to mitigate the problem, chatting up the owners, “Ooh so cute. What’s his name?” What do you care, are you going to write him a fecking check? (I heard once that at the Berkeley FM vendors will not sell to offenders. ) I’ve seen dogs licking produce, pissing on stands, and of course pinching loaves on the sidewalk while their owners remain oblivious. It’s even more annoying than people waking bikes through the crowded venues.
It doesn’t help that the definition of “service dog” is so loosey goosey. I once even saw a shopper from a very upscale restaurant ( you know who I mean Daniel, I wrote you but never heard back) with a dog sitting (butt down of course) in his produce cart. Made me glad I couldn’t afford it!

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I have seen zero enforcement of this. As I understand it proprietors don’t want to deal with the hassle of determining whether a service dog is legit or not. Doesn’t bother me though.

As noted in the article, in California service dogs are required to wear tags ID’ing them as such.

That article is a little short on legal citations. In San Francisco that does not appear to be the case:

“Do I need a service tag for my animal?
There is no legal requirement for you to carry a service tag for your animal. Some people find it easier to access buildings and services by having a California assistance tag from Animal Care and Control which is only available for service/support dogs. You may, however, be asked two questions when in public:
Is the animal required because of a disability?
How does it assist you?”

So the proprietor has to ask these two questions to each person with a dog, then make a judgment call about whether they are lying or not. It is a no-win situation, so most business owners just don’t bother.

Well, AFIK whatever ID and that red vest can be easily bought on line without any kind of legitimate ‘prescription’, so the whole thing is prettt impossible to enforce by merchants.

My (adult) daughter saw a dog defecate on the floor of the Trader Joe’s on Masonic last year. I emailed their corporate office and received a telephone call from someone there, apologizing.

Nope. No tags required. And you’re not even allowed to ask for proof. All kinds of fakers bring dogs in to restaurants. At one of the places I worked, a woman brought in her standard(big!) poodle and it barked everytime someone walked up to the table. After it lunged at the busser, we finally kicked her out. And she had the nerve to argue about it. I also sat at Martha Brothers in Bernal and listed to some as*^ole talk all about how he skirted the whole thing so he could bring his dog with him everywhere.

My friend had an entitled ex-girlfriend who bought a “service dog” vest at a flea market and proceeded to schlep her critter everywhere. Her answer was, “But he has a vest” as if that automatically makes him a service dog.

I refused to go anywhere with them and eventually she went totally off the rails, but I still SMDH every time I think about her totally believing that buying a ten dollar vest made her dog a service animal.

BTW, I LOVE dogs and they love me, but they don’t belong in restaurants, grocery stores or even farmer’s markets for the reasons outlined above; (basically - biology.)


I share my bed with my dog but have to agree it’s getting out of hand in food service establishments. Legitimate service dogs for the blind or handicapped is fine but these so called emotional support dogs are ridiculous, IMHO. Dogs are not fashion accessories!

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In addition to obvious sanitary considerations, fake service dogs are a threat to real service dogs and their handicapped owners, since real service dogs are trained to be passive and not respond when attacked.

One possible solution could be the requirement for electronic tags, which could be checked on a random basis by outside personnel (similar to Muni fare-checkers). This would free store staffs from the hassle of checking (and alienating) customers, and the fines for falsely representing a service animal (currently $1,000 but could be increased to pay for the program) would most likely be a sufficient deterrent,

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My opinion:

  1. there are too many restrictions/rules about where people can take their dogs.
    2)most dog owners are responsible, a few are not and give the others a bad name
  2. the sanitary/biology fears are overblown. A high % of people live with dogs and there is no epidemic of dog caused human illness
  3. much of it this discussion smells of germ-phobia. I am not a dog but was practically assaulted once at the Cheesebaord in Berkeley for smelling a cheese-never touched my nose- but just getting near enough for me to smell the aroma made someone go berserk.
  4. Dogs are pure honest spirits who love humans and enrich the existence of many people. The elderly woman with the dog at the market is not hurting everyone. Give her a break!
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If I wanted to waste the time, I could probably argue every point with you.

Personally I have nothing against Grannies with pocket dogs, but millennial dog owners tend to be almost as insufferable as bicyclists. Lap dogs aside, I feel keeping dogs in city apartments and walking them once a day amounts to cruelty to animals. The joyful homecoming greeting you get from a dog that’s been cooped up all day is pure selfishness.

If you want to compare humans to dogs from a hygienic standpoint, consider the revulsion you might feel from seeing a human being peeing against a wall you must pass often, then consider that the first eighteen inches or so from the ground up of practically every vertical surface in San Francisco is coated with dog pee, but a dog owner probably doesn’t think twice about that.

In my opinion, there aren’t too many restrictions on dogs in San Francisco, there are too many dogs. There are more dogs than children in San Francisco, and dogs are poor substitutes for children.

Now cats, on the other hand…


That seems like a good idea but you would get a lot of push back from dog owners who don’t want their dogs micro chipped. All you would have to do is impose heavy fines or jail time to the abusers and the problem would be resolved quickly.

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I was referring to micro chipping the tags, not the animals. And I agree that the fine (currently $1000 d/or jail time) should be so steep that just the possibility would be a deterrent so that random checks would not have to be frequent.

Cats are carriers of toxoplasmosis. A scary parasite that has been conclusively linked to changes in personality in humans. The personality changes are subtle but measurable, I think the biggest one is infected humans have more “novelty avoidance”. I have always been surprised this is not a bigger deal and is largely buried, but the science is irrefutable. And they gobble up wild birds.

Dog owners are castigated in one breath for taking their dogs out with them and then castigated in another for leaving them home. Every dog owner is different, most are responsible. Don’t demonize all millennial dog owners for the poor behavior of a few irresponsible owners. I can tell you that dogs don’t need to live on a farm to be happy.

Overpopulation by humans is straining the earths limited resources, having a dog rather than populating the earth with more humans is not necessarily the worst idea

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The entire population of the Earth could be housed in the state of Texas, at a density approximating that of Paris. The first challenge would, of course, be feeding the population. One would then have to consider that dogs were originally domesticated from wolves as a food source.

You’d probably swiftly denounce that as an immodest proposal.

In the last 10 years, 333 Americans, more than half of them children, have died from dog maulings. Cats don’t do that.

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