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Why dogs don’t belong at the Lodi Farmers Market

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2013 12:00 am

The Downtown Lodi Farmers Market recently opened, and there you will find some of the finest and freshest produce in California. Variety and choice are what you will discover, and healthy food is what you’ll take home — along with what we hope will be memories of a wonderful community experience.

Since the Farmers Market is a “certified market,” we must abide by certain rules and regulations set by San Joaquin County. Because the Downtown Lodi Farmers Market is considered a food facility, one of these rules is that dogs (except service dogs) and other pets are not allowed at the Farmers Market. The actual Civil Code, Section 54.1 (114371(d), reads, “No live animal within 20 feet of food.”

While we understand dog owners enjoy taking their pets with them to outdoor events, and that the majority of owners are responsible, we need to follow this law as stated in order to avoid being fined or even shut down by the health inspector. The Farmers Market will be inspected frequently during the course of the season by the health inspector.

We are sure that many of you are wondering why dogs are banned. You may even think this law is unfair. The health department is concerned that dogs might urinate or defecate close to food, and that dog feces might remain on the pavement, to be stepped in and further spread.

Dogs on leashes in a crowded area can be problematic or dangerous depending on the dog’s temperament or the owner’s momentary disconnect from the dog. For instance, if the dog’s owner does not always keep the leash very short, it becomes a trip hazard, which can result in injury to both the human and the animal.

Dogs can be magnets for small children who want to pet the cute “doggie.” However, not all dogs want to be petted, and then what? And there is always the possibility of leashed dogs feeling threatened and thus snarling and lunging at each other.

At the Chamber’s Street Faire, where over years of experience, we have seen all of these situations take place to the point of injury.

At the Chamber, we love our pets; between the six of us in the office, we have 10 dogs. But we will be leaving them at home during the Farmers Market.

For the whole of the community’s enjoyment of the Lodi Farmers Market, please comply with this law. If you want to complain about this law, please call San Joaquin County at 209-953-6000. Thank you.

We also ask that you do not bring your pets and leave them in your car. It is easy to underestimate how hot your car will get, creating a potentially deadly situation for your pets.

Pat Patrick is the CEO of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce.

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