Increasingly, I see more dogs being allowed into places of business. Specifically, I would like to call attention to grocery stores. I have seen many people strolling into stores with a dog which is untrained and uncontrolled. I have witnessed owners put their small dog in the child seat of a grocery cart, allow a dog to put its nose on food items, or fail to restrain them from interacting with other customers. Besides being completely unsanitary and unsafe, this is very inconsiderate of others.

Although there are laws in the state of Maine allowing service dogs to be brought onto the premises of most establishments, and rightly so, they apply to service dogs only and not to “emotional support animals.” Businesses are not without the right to question a customer who has brought a dog into their business. If it isn’t an obvious disability, they have the right to determine if the animal is, in fact, a service animal. They can ask if the dog is a service animal required because of a disability and what work or task the dog has been trained to perform. Businesses also have the right to ask customers to remove even a service dog if the animal is disrupting their business or poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others.

Many people consider their dogs family. I respect that. However, people should please be considerate of others and leave their non-service animal at home, where it belongs.

Cynthia Sheeks, Lewiston

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