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Opinion

Opinion: Why canít Charlotteans treat their dogs like real canines?
Pooches aren't babies, so act accordingly
 
Published Wednesday, February 5, 2020 9:00 pm
by Vera Boseman

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Dogs aren't human, but they seem to get the run of everything in Charlotte, including restaurants where people actually eat.

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My husband and I just returned from a trip to Charlotte where we spent the predominant part of the time in the Uptown area which is a lovely place to stay and play.  Before launching into this text, I feel a bit of background is in order for you to understand the perspective from which this story and our feelings stem.


I have a weakened immune system due to a long-term fight (13-plus years) with cancer and many rounds of chemo.  There are many such as me trying to live a normal life while undergoing some type of chemo, oral and/or infused, and/or that are struggling with weakened immune systems.  As a result, I have to be proactive about hygiene and sanitation in the places I can go. I am also a dog owner and love my dog.


Living in the country, I am fortunate in that He can be and is an outside dog. We occasionally let him into the house, but he is not allowed in the dining room or kitchen and restricted from “roaming” the house because of his size, and partly because he is an outside dog and God only knows where his feet and nose have been. It is from these perspectives that I write.


My observations from our Charlotte stay:


There appeared to be more dog owners than those without dogs. Most are good about cleaning up behind their dogs...except in cases of “loose poop.”  Nobody wants to step in this on a sidewalk or even in a park. Kids play on the grass in the park. People picnic on the grass in a park, hopefully with a blanket that they then take home and wash.


Most are good about being considerate when out in public with their animals.
Hygiene and sanitation concerns:


Even though the poop is being picked up, there is residue remaining which means that your animal is walking, sniffing, and re-fertilizing the same areas over and over, and bringing the poop residue wherever he walks and touches with his nose.  A lot of dog owners bring them into restaurants, which is the predominant reason for this text.

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What happened?


Incident 1:  A couple brought their dog into a restaurant, tied the dog to the table, and both left to go to the bathroom, leaving the dog unattended.  My husband had slices of pizza on his table which was beside where the couple had just come in with their dog. He got up to grab a couple of napkins and when he turned around to go back to the table, the dog was licking his pizza! Now some of you may be OK with eating after your dog in spite of where his/her tongue and nose have been. We, however, are not.


Incident 2: Our group was at a bar/restaurant with outside picnic tables. There were a lot of dog owners there enjoying the nice weather with their pets. One owner picked up his corgi and put him on top of the table to walk around...on a surface where other people eat. Come on folks! You wouldn’t walk on a table (maybe dance on a bar after quite a few drinks!), you wouldn’t put your child on a table to walk around, so why would you think it’s OK to put your dog on an eating surface? Remember where their paws have been. This is a sanitation issue, folks.


Other thoughts:  Most dogs shed. Many people have pet dander allergies.  Their dander in enclosed places like a restaurant or even grocery store can end up on someone’s food or plate of food or drink.

If restaurants and grocery stores are going to allow pets other than credentialed service animals, then additional sanitation inspection and procedures need to be in place to insure the health and safety of these public places.  How much additional expense will be required that will eventually end up being paid by the entire public?

I’m not against you and your pet(s) hanging out together in public.  And in no way am I talking about properly trained and credentialed service animals.  There are times when I enjoy the antics and interactions of pets and their owners.  But, please be respectful, considerate, watchful and sensitive to those that don’t have a pet or choose not to bring a pet to a restaurant or other public space. 

Vera Boseman
Washington, N.C.

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