Publix Grocery Store Chain Cracks Down on Service Animal Fraud

PetMD Editorial
Published: July 31, 2018
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Publix stores across the US have posted new, updated signs outside their stores in an effort to curb service animal fraud.

According to USA Today, the old signs only stated, “No pets, please. State law allows only guide or service animals.”

The new signs, which have been posted at the entrance doors of the grocery stores is now more specific in an aim to deter people from bringing their pets in as if they were service animals.

According to CBS12 News, the new signs say, “For food safety reasons, only service animals that are specifically trained to aid a person with disabilities are permitted within the store. Service animals are not permitted to sit or ride in shopping carts. Thank you for your help!”

Publix released a statement to CBS12 that clarified their service animal policy, stating, “Our policy on service animals in our stores has not changed. In an effort to raise awareness and understanding, the decision was made to post this note as a reminder. Publix is an associate-owned company that cares about its customers, and it is important for us to create a pleasant shopping environment. Service animals are covered under the ADA. Therapy animals and emotional support animals are not part of this legislation.”

The signs are meant to deter pet parents from bringing in their pets and claiming they are therapy and emotional support animals, which are not classified as service animals and do not have the same public access rights as service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to the ADA National Network, “A service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Tasks performed can include, among other things, pulling a wheelchair, retrieving dropped items, alerting a person to a sound, reminding a person to take medication, or pressing an elevator button.”

Publix’s efforts to ward of faux-service animals is part of the wider national trend of cracking down on people abusing the ADA Act and emotional support animal accommodations for their pets, most notably seen in the airline industry.

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