Dog research in a warm climate

By John Owen | Feb 09, 2012

 The editors of The Beacon spared no expense to resolve one of the great issues of our community, dwarfing the debates surrounding  five story condos, round-a-bouts at Five Corners,  and  never-ending street repairs that somehow never succeed in repairing the streets.

"Owen," they decided, "we want you to get to the bottom of this issue" and they showed me a picture of a dog.  

And that's why I fled our storm battered community to conduct some vital research on the canine population in Palm Springs. More specifically I arrived one recent Saturday morning in La Quinta's Old Town where a public produce market was underway. And I had barely arrived on the scene when I spotted two prominent signs.

"We love our dogs," the message began, but immediately pointed out that California State Law prohibits canines  in public food markets.

But what my on-the-scene research revealed was that dogs can't read.

And that  their owners can read but fail to comprehend because everywhere I looked I saw dogs, sniffing, scratching and raising a hind leg.  

True, most of the dogs were attached to owners and were often congregating around outdoor coffee bars.  

I don't think I actually saw a dog shopping for produce.

You see a lot of that going on in  the summertime at the Edmonds Saturday Market.  

The dogs are strutting down the aisle between produce booths, trying to decide whether to solicit a free cookie or to chase a hot dog that has escaped from somebody's bun.  

There are seven members of Seattle's Public Market Alliance.  Dogs are banished from the University and  West Seattle markets. "We have had incidents  of dogs jumping up and eating samples off vendors' tables, dogs getting into fights and dogs on leashes causing possible safety hazards," a Seattle Market Alliance news letter points out.

That's why California  community organizations allow leashed pets to stroll down public sidewalks adjoining the markets but ask that they be removed by a few feet from the actual produce counters.

A Southern  resident noted that he had googled "Are pets allowed at farmer's markets in California?"  

And he noted, every entry from San Diego to Ukiah states, 'No pets allowed, period.  Yes, if you are walking your dog along the side walk you may pass around the market on a public street.  But don't step into the shopping area or you will be kindly asked to leave. It's a no-brainer."

Should similar restrictions be enforced at the Edmonds Saturday Summer Market?   

I just conducted the research. It's up to our city officials and enforcers to set rules  and maintain law and order.

If they think this research may be incomplete I might be willing to take additional expense-paid, fact-finding junkets to Tempe, Tucson and Laguna Beach.

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