Pet policies: premises that say yes to pets as well as no pets allowed

| March 22, 2017

Why do some establishments embrace pets and others frown upon Fido?  Many private businesses do not permit pets, concerned about allergens, phobias, pets destroying merchandise or interrupting a customer’s experience. However, you’d be shocked at the franchises that welcome pets:

Tiffany&Co logo

Tiffany & Co

Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn Photo by Rob Young

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Nobles


 Brands that do not allow pets in stores:

Starbucks Coffee

Starbucks Coffee logo

Home Depot

Home Depot logo


Home Depot banned pets from its Canada stores in 2011 after a dog bite incident. A Home Depot employee leaned forward to pet a customer’s Shih Tzu, who jumped up and bit off a part of her nose. The employee needed seven stitches, and consequently, Home Depot Canada decided to ban pets in their stores with the exception of service animals. U.S. stores followed suit.

no pets allowed sign

Starbucks is animal free in order to maintain sanitary and hygiene standards, and most restaurants won’t allow pets to keep dining areas them clean, peaceful, and safe to dine.  Dogs shed, fight, relieve themselves,  and not everyone likes having them around. In general, food establishments won’t accommodate pets. However, some places that welcome pets might surprise you. For example, Chicago is another city that is exceptionally friendly to dogs, with local baseball team the White Sox offering a Dog Day baseball game every spring. Famous food franchise Cucina Bella actually serves canine customers, but only from June to September, and at the restaurants’ outdoors cafes. If the accompanying owner chooses a snack, then the dogs receive free meals, enjoying such items such as pasta, house-made beet-dough biscuits and cold water.

One avenue where no-pets-allowed rules are continually contested is in residential areas. For example, there was a contentious legal battle in Marina City, Illinois over a family who needed a Pomeranian as an “emotional support” dog, but violated Marina Towers Condominium Association’s “no pets policy.” The family filed a complaint about housing discrimination but ended up relocating. Increasing adjustments have been made to include “emotional support” dogs as service dogs. The Illinois Department of Human Rights sued another state condo association after it attempted to ban a dog for an owner who had chronic depression.

It’s best to respect animal policies and the best way to do that is to call ahead when you’re visiting an establishment and see if the policy permits pooches. Business owners may have different reasons for their pet policy, such as the dog bite incident for Home Depot, or Starbucks’s concern about sanitation. All these policies, whether or not pets are allowed, can be effectively reinforced with signage.

-Suman Sridhar


Category: Pets

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