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‘Real service dogs don’t ride in carts.’ People respond to new warning signs at Publix

Publix signage at its supermarkets instruct customers on its policy on service animals. Keeping animals out of the grocery carts has been spelled out on the signs.
Publix signage at its supermarkets instruct customers on its policy on service animals. Keeping animals out of the grocery carts has been spelled out on the signs. hcohen@miamiherald.com

“Attention Publix customers: Your service animal isn’t here to point out this week’s BOGO specials.”

OK, that’s not exactly the meaning behind the signage customers are starting to see in stores that read:

“For food safety reasons, only service animals that are specifically trained to aid a person with disabilities are permitted within the store.

“Service animals are not permitted to sit or ride in shopping carts.

“Thank you for your help!”

The rule about service animals at the Lakeland-based supermarket chain isn’t new, Publix spokesman Dwaine Stevens told the Orlando Sentinel on Friday. But the signage — which includes an encircled paw print with a slash through it next to type set off in bold that gives a no-no to let your dog ride in a shopping cart — is by design.

We are, after all, living in a time when people have bedeviled condo boards, airlines, restaurants and other community places by calling all sorts of critters, like peacocks, squirrels, miniature horses and hamsters, “service” or “emotional support” animals.

American Disability Rights seemed to champion the new signs in a tweet it posted that read “Four on the floor! and had among its hashtags, #stopdisabilityfraud.

Another group on Twitter, StairStepDogTraining, also praised the initiative in a tweet directed at Fox 35’s reporting on the Publix signs in Lake Mary, Florida, stores.

“Real service dogs don’t ride in carts,” the tweet read. “They cannot do their job if they are confined in a basket. Emotional support animals are NOT service dogs. People need to quit being frauds with their dogs.”

Army and National Guard veteran Richard Parker of Pascagoula introduces his dogs, one a certified service animal and the other one ‘in training.’ Both help the veteran cope with the PTSD three combat tours have left him with.

Follow @HowardCohen on Twitter.
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