A requestor in Simi Valley, California recently asked the Network whether pet animals, such as dogs, were allowed in retail food facilities, such as grocery stores and restaurants. The Network researched the issue and provided the requestor with two resources.
Under the California Health and Safety Code § 114259.5 live animals are not be allowed in a food facility, subject to several limited exceptions.
Additionally, a Fact Sheet by the Ventura County Environmental Health Division provides further information on animals in retail food facilities. According to the Fact Sheet, facility owners cannot allow live animals in restaurants, bakeries, bars, markets and other retail food facilities. This restriction does not apply to police dogs accompanying a uniformed law enforcement officer, live shellfish and crustaceans on the menu, or decorative fish in aquariums. Animals are allowed in patio dining areas, but animals may not pass through the facility in order to access the patio area.
Service animals are also exempted from the law restricting animals from food facilities. Under a 2014 law, a service animal must be a dog that is trained, or in training, to work for a person with a disability. Service animals do not include any other type of animal regardless of training. In order to qualify as a service animal, a dog must perform a specific task for a person with a disability, for example, pulling a wheelchair, or alerting someone who is deaf to sounds. The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence or the animal’s ability to provide emotional support or comfort do not constitute work or tasks. Additional information on service animals is available from the United States Department of Justice.
Network attorneys are available to answer questions on this and other public health topics at no cost to you, and can assist you in using law to advance your public health initiatives. Contact a Network Attorney in your area for more information.
The legal information and assistance provided in this document does not constitute legal advice or legal representation. For legal advice, readers should consult a lawyer in their state.