Dear Deb – September

Posted August 25, 2023

 Dear Deb: Why aren’t dogs allowed in the farmers’ market? And if they aren’t, why do I sometimes see them there? -Jan B, Fairfield 


We love our furry family members, but dogs and other animals are not allowed in farmers' markets. This is because of California Health & Safety Code 114259.5, which prohibits live animals in certified farmers' markets and other permitted food facilities, with the exception of service animals. * Emotional support animals are not allowed if the dog or other animal is not trained to perform specific acts directly related to an individual's disability. The state mandates that we must follow its regulations to protect public health. 

There are a few reasons for this rule. If a dog sniffs food or produce at a farmers' market, the vendor is not allowed to sell that product. This can have a significant impact on the vendor's livelihood. Dogs can also mark their territory or relieve themselves in the market, which can create a health hazard. 

In addition, dogs can be a distraction to other customers. They can bark, jump up, or run around, which can be annoying and even dangerous. This is especially true for children and people with allergies. 

Enforcing the "no dogs" rule can be challenging for market managers. There is usually only one manager per market and they may not be able to see every dog that comes into the market. Additionally, despite the signage that market managers are required to post within the market, some people may try to sneak their dogs into the market by hiding them in bags or carriages or merely disregard request to remove the animal from the farmers’ market. 

If you see a dog in a farmers' market, please do not hesitate to bring it to the attention of the market manager. You can also help by leaving your dog at home when you go to the farmers' market. This will help to ensure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience. 

*animals who have been raised to assist those with disabilities. 

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