Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Greg Peck: Beloit Farmers Market banning dogs

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Greg Peck
Wednesday, September 3, 2014

If you plan on visiting the Beloit Farmers Market this weekend, don't take Fido along. The Beloit Daily News reported that the Downtown Beloit Association Board of Directors, which oversees the Beloit Farmers Market, voted to ban pets starting this Saturday, Sept. 6. The association's executive director, Shauna El-Amin, said the safety of pets and patrons was the primary reason for that decision.

As I blogged in April, the Janesville Farmers Market returned to its ban on dogs this season after loosening the reins in recent years. My wife, Cheryl, and I took out Cairn terrier, Molly, to the Janesville market a couple of times in recent years. Kids enjoyed petting her.

The dog ban didn't endear every pet lover to the Janesville market. Some told me they would be more inclined to shop at Beloit's larger market.

The new dog ban in Beloit brought mixed reviews on the market's Facebook page.

Wrote one owner: “My dog was completely socialized with dogs, kids and adults. He would stay at my side and knew to behave. Vendors had no problems with him (often offering treats that he just couldn't have—grain-based). I carry bags and always double bagged his waste.”

But another wrote: “I was so happy to see that sign! I don't mind some of the smaller dogs, but some people bring really huge beasts that they don't even try to control. I can only imagine how intimidating that is to a small child. I also saw one dog nearly eat the food out of a stranger's hand just today. The owner barely noticed. I'm thrilled about this rule.”

I found this new ban interesting in light of Tuesday's decision by the city of Janesville's alcohol licensing committee to let bar and restaurant owners seek state variances that would permit dogs under limited circumstances on outdoor patio and decks. I wrote more about that decision in The Gazette's editorial for Thursday.

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.   

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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