LET HOT TOPIC RESPONSES Take dogs elsewhere

I don't think they should have dogs allowed at the fairgrounds when the fair is on, at the Farmers' Market or at Rochesterfest. They are a nuisance. I think they can spread germs.

I don't like them sniffing me, drooling on me, and sometimes I don't go to these situations because everybody has to bring their dog. They even bring their dogs to the concerts in the park. I go and sit in the car simply because I don't want to be messing around with somebody's dog.

I think these events are for people, not for dogs. If you want to take your dog, take it for a walk in the park or in the woods. There are plenty of places to take your dog.

Charlotte; Vikse



; Two complaints aren't enough

Shame on the Department of Agriculture. We've been going to the Farmers' Market about once a week since they started way back. We have seen lots of dogs there every week, and never had any problem. Responsible owners control their dogs there. Owners and pets alike make new friends.

I spoke with the president of the farmers' market Saturday. She said she had exactly two complaints, and one was from a dog hater. Isn't it strange that two people can complain and the government jumps right in and changes things? Very sad.

I think it is much more dangerous that vendors and customers use the porta-potty with no soap and water and go handle the veggies and fruits. The farmers' market is great, and it will survive without the dogs, but should it have to? Just one more right taken away by the government.

Do something constructive with your authority.

Judy; Schulz


Don't like dogs? Shop elsewhere


I am writing this letter in support of the sentiments expressed by Greg Sellnow in his Saturday column.

I have been going to the farmers' market for many years. I am very disappointed to see a few people ruin the festive atmosphere for us. The farmers are very congenial and helpful, which makes the customers act the same way. Now there is an air of restraint. Will the young people who play music be the next to go? If I wanted to go to the supermarket, I would. I want to support local farmers, not farmers from California.

It is time for the picky, irritable people to stand back and let the rest of us enjoy our farmers' market. They can go to the supermarket instead.

Bring back the dogs.

Mary; Alice Richardson


; Dog ban is appropriate

I love the Farmers' Market and go almost every Saturday. However, the one downside for me were all the dogs. The market is crowded and they just added to the congestion. It was also unappetizing to have all the dogs near the food.


I have observed a dog defecating near a food stand with the owner totally oblivious to what was happening. You wouldn't take a dog to the grocery store or a restaurant. Why would you take a dog to the Farmers Market? I'm very pleased about the ruling banning dogs from the market.

Connie; Schuelka


; Dogs add to enjoyment

Greg Sellnow's observation in his column on Saturday was right on target. As regular visitors to the Farmers' Market for many years, we look forward to seeing our "seasonal friends" -- how they've changed/what they're wearing, etc.

In all our visits over those years, we have not seen any indication of unsocialized pets or irresponsible owners. We have seen no basis for a reason to file a complaint. No pets have threatened any of the food items or people.

We strongly recommend revisiting a decision made to satisfy the complaints of two or three individuals rather than taking into consideration the experience and enjoyment of hundreds. It's boring without them. Please reconsider a decision that has taken a lot of fun out of an enjoyable event.

Sandra; Gruszynski


Jaci; Langeness


; Dirty, rude adults still welcome?

The Farmers' Market will survive, but my wife and I will no longer be shopping there. Why? Because Larry Kruger of the Department of Agriculture has deemed our dogs unhealthy and aesthetically unpleasant.

Well, Mr. Kruger, let me tell you what we consider more unhealthy and aesthetically unpleasant than dogs attending the market. We find people with colds and unwashed hands picking through produce and sampling cheeses and meats unhealthy. We find bugs on and around food unhealthy. We find port-a-potties in the close proximity of food unhealthy. But two or three people overlooked those things, see a dog breathing on produce and panic. We find unruly children, rude adults, bad drivers trying to find a parking space, and people smoking around the booths aesthetically unpleasant, but we still attended and tried to ignore them. But no more. Because our dogs are now unwelcome, we are now unwelcome.

It's a shame that two or three complaints since the Farmers' Market started in the 1970s can have such an impact on people who attended with dogs, those shoppers who enjoyed visiting with the dogs, and the sellers who will be losing income.

Gerald; F. Simon

Elizabeth; M. Hadac



; Dogs aren't people

I can't imagine why any dog or any other animal would need to be at a Farmer's Market or at an outdoor event. Those are for humans.

Carrey; Olin


; Keep canines away

No dogs at the Farmers' Market and no dogs at the Sunday night music in the park.

Little children are crawling around in the grass and people are picnicking there. NO dogs in either place!


Lora; Beaupre'


; Show a little compassion

I think dogs should be allowed at the Farmers' Market since it is the community, and what's a better way to celebrate with the community than with your animals?

We have consideration for kids that run around, misbehave, pick their nose, touch the produce. Everybody needs to have a little more compassion. It's a fun outdoor event, and it shouldn't be ruined.

Kay; Barnhart


; Focus on bigger problems

Our two Yorkies have attended the farmers' market with us regularly for many years and through three changes in the market's location. They seem to have enjoyed this activity greatly, and a large number of elderly people and young children have found it to be a joyous experience to get to know them.

Over the years, many other dogs have started to come to the market, to the point that this year there was a "dog parade" there.

We don't see a hygiene issue here: the produce, after all, is not on the ground! Furthermore, dog owners at the market have been consistently meticulous in cleaning up after their dogs. If there is any hygiene issue at the Farmers' Market, it is the apparent absence of facilities for hand washing.

There are a great many problems in Olmsted County right now, and banning dogs at the Farmers' Market hardly seems a useful start to addressing them!

Lloyd; and Denise Wells


; Dirt -- there's no escaping it

No doubt, the average person thinks banning dogs from the Farmers' Market is a good thing. After all, isn't it the expectation of many that government exists to protect citizens from their own mistakes? But perhaps reality is a bit different.

With apologies to Benjamin Franklin, those who would trade essential liberty to gain temporary safety deserve (and will get) neither.

For those who think banning dogs is a good idea, brace yourselves. We are talking about a Farmers' Market, right? That means vegetables -- grown in, get ready, dirt. And worse -- those fields of dirt are exposed to, prepare yourselves, deer, raccoons, skunks, hawks, manure, etc. Not only will these creatures eat those vegetables -- they will "do" things to the dirt they grow in.

So, even if we ban dogs, and then, of course, cats, parrots, and sick children who have not the social grace to cover their runny noses or mouths, the vegetables will still be subject to all those evil wild animals bent on poisoning our food supply.

Meanwhile, we have given up another freedom for a non-existent illusory freedom -- that being freedom from disease and death.

No matter how many freedoms we barter away, the government will not be able to protect us from our own sloth and mortality.

To believe otherwise is the pinnacle of delusion.

Sheryl; Quimby Langer


; Something's missing

As an epidemiologist, I recognize that the risk of transmission of disease from dog to human is both remarkably rare, and when it occurs, is usually stool-related. I have never seen un-picked up stool at the farmers' market.

As a family physician, I recognize that frequently what is stated to me as the problem is not the problem at all: The problem is something else. I have the sense here that the real issue is that a small number of people just don't like dogs. There has been a great deal of recent research on dogs' interaction with humans, and the close, mutually supportive relationship that has existed for tens of thousands of years. There has also been research on the positive benefits of pet companionship, especially for the elderly or the sick. The relationship between humans and dogs is rich and multi-faceted.

I and my three corgis have been committed customers of the market for years. It was a fun outing for me and for them, and they received a lot of pats from people about the same height as short-legged dogs, as well as from adults.

When I went to the market last weekend, some simple pleasure was missing.

Margaret; Houston


; State officials are wrong

I am a 16-year-old who has been going to the farmers' market for as long as I can remember.

Saturday mornings were special, a time to bond with my mother. When my family got three dogs, the happy experience of Saturdays increased. Each market morning, I would dress my three dogs up in matching bandannas, hook on their leashes and load them into the car. The dogs were very well-behaved, they never made a mess, they were always on a leash, and their groomer and vet visits were kept up-to-date.

Many other customers enjoyed meeting the dogs. Imagine my shock when dogs were banned from the market.

The Farmers' Market is not a supermarket. It takes place in a parking lot. People selling goods set up tables and displays at eye level for their goods. Some things are placed on the ground, in boxes, but they are usually placed under, or behind the tables, making it a difficult for dogs to access them. The few people who complained were among hundreds who visit the market each week.

I believe dogs should be permitted to visit the Farmers' Market because they do not pose a health threat. I believe that by removing dogs, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture is denying many people a beneficial interaction with the animals.

Katie; Ehman


; Animals play role in growing food

I am not a dog owner, nor do I consider myself a "dog person."

However, I do feel that the presence of dogs adds to the "folksy" atmosphere of our wonderful Farmers' Market.

I feel they add to the ambiance, the same as the musicians with their hats on the ground and people strolling with their wicker basket and cup of latte. I've never seen a dog off-leash, and people are smart enough to walk their dogs before they get to the market to prevent accidents. In fact, it is extremely likely that dogs and cats and chicken and ducks help to produce the beautiful fruits and vegetables we are so fortunate to have access to by controlling rodents and insects. Healthful organic food isn't produced without cooperation.

As to the health department's opinion about a health threat -- vegetables grow in the dirt; the same dirt that organic matter decomposes in, worms crawl through and fertilize, and yes -- dogs relieve themselves in. People, especially children, need to know where their food comes from and how hard the people who produce it for us work.

Maybe the people who complained about a threat to public health from dogs should purchase their food in a nice, sterile grocery store or, better yet, visit one of the outstanding organic gardens in our area.

Cynthia; Regnier


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