Updated: Jun 24
We know how it is. Your dog is your best friend - part of the family in fact! You want to include your pal on your family's trip to the Farmacy! Unfortunately, when you call and ask if it's ok, we have to say, "Sorry, no, we don't allow dogs." Why not? Here's why -
At the Farmacy we raise:
Sugar Snap Peas
All pets, not just dogs, can pose a food safety risk if we allowed them in our fields. When fruits and vegetables hit the top of the “most likely to cause a foodborne illness” charts the new federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rules were introduced to ensure the safety of the food we grow for our customers. The FSMA Rules state that "visitors to the farm (including U-pick and farm stand customers) should be instructed to leave their pets at home for both food safety and liability reasons".
Animals can carry human pathogens including E. coli O157:H7, Listeria, Salmonella and Cryptosporidium and can spread contamination around fields, buildings, and equipment as they move, which can result in foodborne illnesses. Considering these risks, we do not allow our customers to bring their pets to the farm. We do not even allow our own farm dogs to go to certain places on the farm.
What are you going to do when at a moment you are distracted, perhaps picking the perfect pumpkin; your dog takes a dump next to the squash? Even if you attempt to be fastidious about cleaning up after your dog’s mess, it’s unlikely that all traces of feces can be removed. It will be left to be tracked throughout the growing area.
Customer safety can certainly be another reason for the “NO DOGS ALLOWED” signs. Dogs will be dogs, and no matter how well trained, dog bites, dog fights and other unpleasant contacts with other customers can sometimes be problematic.
On a farm, untrained dogs can do a lot of damage. They could get lose off their leash and startle our cattle causing them to run through a fence. Our own animals could hurt visiting dogs. We have a miniature donkey on site. A donkey's territorial instinct is so strong that they are used to guard herds of sheep and goats against dogs, foxes, coyotes and wolves. Unfortunately, this territorial nature results in donkeys sometimes chasing and attacking small animals such as cats and dogs.
We will absolutely allow service dogs on our farm. We will ask you the two questions we are allowed to ask according to the American with Disabilities Act guidelines to verify that your dog is, indeed, an actual service animal. We will not allow Emotional Support Animals or Therapy Dogs.
Wisconsin law defines “service animal” under Wis. Stat. § 106.52 (1) (fm)to mean “a guide dog, signal dog, or other animal that is individually trained or is being trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability . . . .” Wisconsin law generally prohibits a public place of accommodation from refusing entry—or charging a higher price—to a person with a disability because he or she is accompanied by a service animal. Although Wisconsin law does not prohibit a person accompanied by an animal from being asked whether the animal is a service animal, a public place of accommodation may not require a person with a disability to provide certification or another credential for a service animal. Such a requirement would not be permissible under the ADA. (See Wis. Stat. § 106.52 (3) (am) 2.)
Service Animal Fraud
We've had people try and get their pets into the Farmacy in their purses or by flashing "an official, certified & bonified service dog id from the State of Wisconsin" that they most definitely bought off of the internet. There are no official ID's for service dogs issued by any government agency. There is also no state or national registry.
Misrepresenting your pet as a service dog creates many issues for disabled people and their service dogs, including:
Distracting working dogs from their duty of guiding their handler safely or causing service dogs to miss a medical cue leading to life-threatening situations.
Attacks by dogs to real service dogs (or their handlers) is on the rise, causing many disabled people to petition their states to strengthen laws and penalties for claiming your pet as a service dog.
Authentic service dogs receive lengthy training, usually one to two years, to ensure the following:
They will not bark while on duty
They will not bother other people, animals or things
They will safely guide or assist their handler in all situations
Service dog handlers receive lengthy training on the laws, care, feeding and tasks or commands required to be an effective and safe service dog team.
We, at the Farmacy, care deeply about the safety of our food, customers & animals! This is why our animal display area (not a petting zoo) is far, far away from where we grow our fruits & vegetables, and where we serve food. This is also why we provide numerous hand sanitizer & hand washing stations around the farm.
Please consider the farmer & truly disabled folks and the burden that your visiting pets may place on them. Dogs make great pets, but they may have an impact on the safety of the food a farmer grows and sells as well as the safety of people who truly require service dogs.