What's Bugging You? Dogs in public places

LOS ANGELES "I realize that people really care for their pets, but they really need to leave them at home when they are in a retail establishment," said Donna Horowitz of Claremont.

Horowitz sent Eyewitness News an e-mail because she believes it's a health issue. She also suffers from allergies.

"My eyes start to itch and I start to sneeze," she said. "It's uncomfortable and I understand retailers wanting patron, but they could get a dog sitter."

Pets are not allowed in indoor restaurants, unless it's a service animal such as a seeing eye dog, but some people still bring them.

"We're there for a specific purpose. They're there because they didn't want to leave Fluffy at home," said Tina Strandskov, who trains service dogs.

Strandskov said people who bring pets to stores or restaurants sometimes make it difficult for those who use service dogs.

"If a pet had an accident in a restaurant, the next time someone comes in with a dog, your teenage server will be more likely to say we don't allow dogs in here," she said.

Kenneth Phillips, an attorney who specializes in cases involving dogs, said the company can be held liable for it.

He said the courts have ruled that if someone is harmed by a pet in a store, the person injured can sue both the animal owner and the store.

"It's not reasonable to bring a dog into a store," Phillips said. "People in a store are looking at the stuff to buy, they are not looking down at their feet, looking for leashes or little animals, and then you have the danger of people tripping and injuring themselves."

Phillips said people should notify the store or restaurant manager about a pet. If they don't take action, a report can be made to the county health department.

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