It happened again. For the third time in three weeks the grocery store I go to had a customer bring in a dog that was clearly not a service animal in any way shape or form. Service animals are trained. They don't strain at their leash, don't sniff at the produce and even lick the produce (yes, this has happened), aren't skittish to loud noises, etc. Yesterday there was a woman pushing a shopping cart with a dirty thin mat placed inside and on top of that mat was an even dirtier, nervous looking dog. In a grocery store. Where someone half an hour later would be using that same cart for their food utterly unaware a dog had been in it.

I thought about how this was the third week in a row I had seen someone do this. I thought about approaching a manager. But then I thought about how managers are often scared to simply ask, "Is that a service dog?" They are also allowed to ask what special training it has in providing what exact service. But they usually won't. They know selfish dog owners who simply want their pets with them wherever they go will normally just lie. They don't want the confrontation.

It's a shame that these self-absorbed people are abusing the ADA guidelines for such a petty and greedy reason. That's why it occurs to me that when it comes to places like grocery stores and restaurants, wherever food is sold or served, it is far better to report the store to the health department rather than expect the manager to do anything. A manager who doesn't confront an obnoxious pet owner is just avoiding trouble. If you go the route of reporting that store to the health department, the store managers won't want to deal with that hassle either. Maybe they'll finally do the right thing.

Here's a link that will tell you exactly how to contact the correct health department to report such incidents. All you need to know is what county and town the store was in.

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