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Sunday, October 1, 2023

Should stores in Ocala/Marion County allow pets? Readers share their thoughts.

Publix made national headlines earlier this month when the company reinforced its “no pets allowed” policy at locations across the southeast, including stores in Ocala/Marion County.

In response to this policy, several readers submitted letters to Ocala-News.com to share their thoughts on whether or not pets should be allowed in local stores or restaurants.

“I’m thrilled Publix is not allowing dogs in carts. It’s dirty and disgusting. They all say they are support dogs and purchase fake patches online. No one enforces the law. If it was a real support dog, it would walk, not ride in a cart. Thanks for reminding people,” says Silver Springs resident Peggy Larkin.

“Yes, emotional support animals should be allowed in stores. My little 4-pound Morkie alerts me when I’m about to have an asthma attack, but obviously Publix doesn’t care much about their customers. Luckily, there are other stores to shop at. But I do want to say this to Publix: ban pets, fine, but you also need to ban children that are young enough to ride in carts. I have gotten a hold of carts that have feces on the handle, sticky handles, and I can’t count the number of kids I’ve seen with snotty noses. Also, when they get restless, mom will grab a pack of cookies, take out some for the kid, and put the package back on the shelf. I would rather get a cart that a dog had been in than a cart a kid had been in,” says Reena Lucas, Ocala resident.

“I fully support service/guide animals. However, when you are having your little animal sitting in a food cart….fleas can jump 6 feet. I don’t want fleas in my produce. Lowe’s, Walmart, Home Depot…fine,” says Ocala resident Chris Bethune.

“I don’t think anyone should bring their pets into restaurants. What may be convenient for those that feel they need emotional support is very inconvenient for those who are allergic to dogs and cats. Someone who sits in a booth or table after someone was there with an animal who is allergic to those animals could end up in the hospital. Also, people don’t realize that their dog or cat could have fleas, and now you have infested the restaurant,” says Douglas Donley, Ocala resident.

“Animals do not belong in a grocery store, or any store, for that reason. I was in Walmart, in the produce section, a man had his dog in the cart. As he was shopping for tomatoes, his dog was peeing on the floor. So just imagine that while the dog is peeing, he is shopping. Not only that, just think that he’s handling his dog and picking him up and touching the produce all at the same time. So no dogs, or any animals, should be allowed. Call DoorDash, Instacart, or Walmart delivery,” says Ocala resident Diana Richardson.