I can’t be the only one who loves taking my dog with me everywhere I go. Whether that is restaurants or running errands, a pet-friendly spot always has a special place in my heart.
HomeGoods also has a special place in my heart with its amazing selection and prices. But is HomeGoods pet-friendly? Can I shop with my dog there?
Does HomeGoods Allow Dogs?
HomeGoods does not have an official pet policy. Instead, each store sets its own rules and regulations for pets in the store. Most HomeGoods are pet-friendly, however. If you want to take your pet shopping with you at any HomeGoods store, you’ll need to check first that you can and, if so, which regulations you must abide by.
This article looks at the HomeGoods animals in store guidelines: what they are, what they mean, and what you need to understand before assuming you can take your pet shopping with you.
What Are Dog Laws In General?
We usually refer to dogs when we talk about taking pets shopping with us. And more shoppers (and diners) do not want to leave their pets at home. But working out whether shopping with your dog is ‘legal’ or not can be tricky.
The reason for the confusion is that dogs, like any other form of property in the legal system, are regulated to protect the health, safety, and welfare of all people. These regulations consist of ordinances (local laws), individual state laws, and even federal laws.
Finally, every store also has its own individual store dog policies. And don’t forget the civil rights laws, which can override all regulations in place regardless of what they are. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination based on disability.
The section of the Act relevant here is the Dog Service Laws. These prohibit discrimination against disabled people with service animals in employment, public accommodations, and state and local government.
This means that the rights of a person with an Assistance Dog are protected under Federal Law (through the ADA).
However, the ADA is subject to its own specific requirements in terms of what defines an ‘assistance dog’ and how an assistance dog is controlled (or handled) in public.
Therefore, this welter of dog laws, policies, regulations, and guidelines means that most of us just don’t know if we can take our dog shopping – until we ask the store in question. And this is always the best thing to do anyway.
If a store like HomeGoods allows you to bring pets shopping with you, be sure to follow their guidelines. These guidelines are necessary and always in place for the sake of public interest, public safety, and public health.
These general rules usually state how you must control your dog (collar and leash), how your dog must behave (friendly and non-aggressive at all times), and that you are totally responsible for cleaning up after your dog.
Be aware that all stores, regardless of their published dog policy, have the right to refuse entry if they are not comfortable that allowing your dog in-store is in the best public interest. In this case, they are being guided by local ordinances (local laws), and you, too, must abide by these.
However, this ability to use discretion regarding general pets does not apply when shoppers have service (or assistance) dogs.
What About The FDA Food Code 2017?
The FDA Food Code (2017) shows how a federal regulation can outrank local policies. The United States Food and Drug Administration is a federal agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, which has official power to make legal decisions and judgments.
The 2017 Food Code is the most recent full edition of the code published by the FDA.
This Food Code has an applicable code section (6-501.115) which applies to both employees and shoppers and which states that live animals may not be allowed on the premises of a food establishment. This code applies to stores that sell food and to all spaces where food is being packed or prepared.
However, this jurisdiction does not apply to service animals regardless of whether the service animal works for the shopper or the employee. In the case of an employee with a service animal, the FDA Codes state that:
Decisions regarding a food employee or applicant with a disability who needs to use a service animal should be made on a case-by-case basis. An employer must comply with health and safety requirements but is obligated to consider whether there is a reasonable accommodation that can be made.
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What Is A Service Animal?
The ADA defines a service animal as a dog that has undergone specialized training to perform specific tasks for its handlers, and these tasks must be related to the handler’s disability.
Dogs are the most common service animals and assist people in many different ways. Various definitions exist for a service animal, but typically the term “service animal” alludes specifically to the Americans with Disabilities Act, where it specifies a dog specially trained to perform some service to assist its owner with a disability.
Service animals are generally allowed in areas of public accommodation in the United States, even where pets are generally forbidden. Other laws like the US Fair Housing Act and the US Air Carrier Access Act recognize the role of an animal in assisting a disabled owner.
Various laws and policies may define “service animals” more comprehensively, but most usually do not recognize or especially accommodate emotional support animals. Emotional support animals do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
Service animals are specially trained, and they perform specific tasks. However, they do not always (and are not obliged to) wear identifiable markings. Anyone with a service animal is also not required to provide proof of their dog’s training.
Service animals can be categorized into three types of assistance animals: guide animals, which guide the blind; hearing animals, which signal the hearing impaired; and service animals, which work for persons with disabilities other than blindness or deafness.
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Does HomeGoods Allow Emotional Support Animals (ESA)?
HomeGoods generally allow all dogs into their stores: the decisions will be based on the discretion of management and the local and store policies they follow.
If the HomeGoods animal in-store policy was restricted to service animals only, then the decision will come down to whether the store recognizes an emotional support dog as a service animal.
Unfortunately, emotional support dogs are not officially recognized as service dogs. This means that the ADA legislation does not apply to emotional support dogs, and organizations and businesses must use their own discretion over the entrance to public spaces.
What Is An Emotional Support Dog?
An emotional support animal provides care and comfort to an owner living with mental illness or coping with some form of emotional distress.
Emotional support dogs are not trained to perform specific tasks, such as bringing the owner medication and so on. They are therefore not considered service animals.
An emotional support animal is an animal that provides relief to individuals through companionship, and it can be any type of pet. Individuals may need ‘psychic relief’ from trauma, illness, depression, anxiety, phobias, and PTSD.
Businesses are only (legally) required to allow service animals and can therefore deny entrance to all other animals. However, it is becoming increasingly common for businesses to allow any dogs entrance, provided they comply with local and store safety requirements.
HomeGoods has a general pet-friendly in-store policy, which means you can usually take your dog shopping. It’s always best to check first. No store is required to allow your dog in unless you have a service animal.
In this case, the American Disability Act applies. This Act does not apply to emotional support dogs, which are animals that provide a completely different set of services.
All businesses are bound by a complex set of local, state, and federal codes regarding the presence of animals in stores.
However, simply asking the store before you arrive will immediately give you the answer you’re looking for.
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