Friday, July 27, 2007

Unlike California, leashed dogs are allowed at most local farmers markets

I’ve wondered why dogs are allowed at the farmers markets? There is all the fresh fruit, vegetables, breads, etc., in the open (much more exposed than most grocery stores) and dogs are not allowed in grocery stores or restaurants, but at the farmers markets? It seems like a big health issue to me. In California it is against the law ... but not here?
— Linda Percy

ANSWER: “We have no problem with dogs if they’re on a leash. There’s no law prohibiting them,” said Yolanda Simpson, manager of Colorado Farm & Art Market. “In Colorado today, I think dogs are part of the family.”

Simpson noted that California’s laws are different from Colorado’s. California law says: “No live animals, birds, or fowl shall be kept or allowed within 6 meters (20 feet) of any area where food is stored or held for sale.” Under this blanket restriction, this would cover not only pets but live ducks and chickens sometimes sold at markets elsewhere for food.

El Paso County Department of Health and Environment does not regulate farmers markets, except for food vendors.The department doesn’t regulate the presence of dogs accompanying their people to the outdoor markets and a department employee said dogs are not carriers of food-borne illnesses. City ordinances require that dogs be leashed, vaccinated and licensed.

J. Wood e-mailed that the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment does regulate farmers' markets. "In years past it wasn't true, but sadly, this year they are really after all of us that are vendors at the farmers markets. Most of us sell items to take home and consume there, so there is really no danger, but, if anyone prepares the food at the market or gives samples, it is almost unbelievable their rules and regulations. We had to pay $75 for a consultation and inspection of our equipment with them, and then purchase a license for another $55. We are not a sit-down vendor. We understand that some get leniency and others(like us) are clamped down on. Not sure it’s fair, but life is not always fair!"

The mid-week farmers market, held on Wednesday nights in Manitou Springs’ Soda Springs, has set up its own rules. It does not allow dogs. And, as a recent visitor to the market discovered, they also do not allow ferrets.


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