If I could, I’d take my pups with me everywhere I go. However, not every store is dog-friendly.
In particular, I was wondering if Sam’s Club allows dogs. So we looked into it and this is what we found…
Does Sam’s Club Allow Dogs?
Sam’s Club, an American chain of retail warehouse clubs, does not allow dogs onto their premises. This includes the Sam’s Club retail premises, optical centres, pharmacies, and Auto & Tire centres. The only exception to this rule is for genuine service dogs, which are classified as working animals rather than pets.
This article takes a look at The Sam’s Club animals on site policies and guidelines: what they are, what they mean, and how they apply to you.
Does Sam’s Club Allow Any Kind Of Pets?
Sam’s club do not allow pets of any kind on site. This applies regardless of the type of animal, the size of animal, or whether or not the animal is restrained, contained, or even carried out of sight.
The only exception to this rule is when the animal has received training and is working (in other words assisting a person with a disability) at the time the animal is in the store.
Sam’s Club allows that not all service animals necessarily have a harness, a sign, or a symbol indicating that they are service animals. They also acknowledge that service animals come in different breeds and sizes, and that they (Sam’s Club) do not ask to see licenses or training certifications.
However, Sam’s Club does distinguish that, “a service animal is not a pet”. While a service animal poses no risk to the public or to property, the same cannot always be guaranteed for pets. While pets are always highly valued companions, their status in public is very different to that of service dogs.
Are Service Animals Allowed In Sam’s Club?
Sam’s Club have published an official policy regarding the status of service animals on their premises. This policy applies to all the Sam’s Club warehouses and outlets, regardless of where they are:
“Service animals play an important role to help ensure the independence of people with various disabilities. Therefore, it is our policy to welcome into our Clubs any animal that is individually trained to assist a person with a disability.”
The significant part of this statement is the phrase “individually trained to assist a person with a disability”. Any dogs which are not specifically trained to assist a person with a disability are not genuine service animals. They are pets, and therefore not permitted within Sam’s Club stores and warehouses.
The Parent company of Sam’s Club (Walmart) has further stated that:
“An individual with a disability has the right to be accompanied by service animals in Sam’s Club locations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Walmart considers interference with or denial of this right to be a serious violation of company policy.”
What Is A Genuine Service Animal?
The ADA National Network define a genuine service animal as one that has been individually trained to work for or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, which could be physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or a mental disability.
Trained service animals receive lengthy, intense, and costly training. The complex tasks service dogs are trained for include:
- Alerting persons with hearing loss to sounds
- Assisting those with sight impairment with navigation
- Assisting individuals through seizures
- Reminding persons of medications
- Providing support and assistance with mobility and balance
- Assisting individuals with neurological/ psychiatric disabilities by interrupting impulsive behaviours
A service animal is permitted to go wherever the person with the disability goes. The only exception is that entry into any sterile environment such as certain areas within hospitals, is not permitted.
Genuine service dogs are highly trained animals and will never pose a threat to other humans and/or animals. They are legally allowed into most public areas including housing (even when other animals are not permitted) and on airlines.
Can You Bring An Emotional Support Dog Into Sam’s Club?
Sam’s Club do not accept emotional support dogs on site unless the dog is also specially trained to assist and live with a specific handler with a disability.
Emotional support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias. They do not receive special training to perform the specific tasks needed to assist people with disabilities.
Emotional support dogs do, however, receive training, but the training is more generalized. These animals are taught to interact with different people in different environments and perform assistive emotional support at extremely high levels.
Emotional support animals are not limited to dogs, and although they receive entry into a vast number of places where pets cannot go, the legal requirements to accept an emotional support dog on site are more limited than that of service dogs.
What’s The Difference Between A Service Dog And An Emotional Support Dog?
The American Kennel Club Association advises that the different terms of classification for working dog are specific and not interchangeable, and that each “class” is defined in precise terms according to the tasks undertaken and the associated legal rights.
Therefore, service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support dogs, while fulfilling important roles, are not performing the same roles.
For example, the handler of a service dog will not able in any way to access most physical locations without the service dog.
In contrast, the work of an emotional support dog, or companion animal, while directly related to the handle’s emotional needs, will assist and support the handler to access specific locations successfully, but is not strictly necessary for it.
Emotional support dogs are trained for and are always prescribed for a specific owner, but they are not trained for specific tasks related to that owner, such as recognizing seizures and/or alerting handlers to over stimulation or repetitive behaviors.
Want to learn more about Sam’s Club? Check out our related articles to learn:
Sam’s Club will always accept the presence of service dogs in their stores and warehouses.
Sam’s Club recognize the legal status of service animals and their responsibility toward the animals and their handlers.
It is not permitted to bring pets onto Sam’s Club sites.
It is also not permitted to bring emotional support dogs or therapy dogs of any kind into Sam’s Club stores, unless they are also trained service dogs.