Dogs in garden centres debated

A local disagreement over whether to ban dogs in garden centres has highlighted a split among retailers on the issue.

Dogs: retailers split over whether to bring in store bans
Dogs: retailers split over whether to bring in store bans

One letter writer to Dorset-based Blackmore Vale magazine said: "I write in support of your correspondent against dogs in garden centres.

"I too witnessed a disgraceful event at Haskins a few weeks ago. A middle-aged couple stood and watched their dog cock its leg up a display of compost bags. They then casually walked away without attempting to inform any member of staff. The centre has a duty of care towards its customers and staff and under the health and safety regulations allowing dogs in is incompatible with this duty."

However, another correspondent wrote: "We use the garden centres and the cafe at Three Legged Cross and many of the establishments as Paul Oliver mentioned. Our dog is well-behaved and many people say hello and have a chat - it is a wonderful. Having just come back from Europe, travelling with our dog staying with us on the crossing to France, our dog was allowed in most shops, bars and restaurants. I would much prefer a dog in an establishment rather than children running around expressing themselves."

Haskins managing director Julian Winfield said: "We have to allow dogs for the disabled. We have other customers who bring in dogs and most of the time without a problem. If we were to ban dogs I would fear that we would have complaints from customers about dogs being stuck in the car on a hot day. I think it is one of those examples when you cannot win either way."

Wyevale Garden Centres' policy is: "Owners are permitted to bring well-behaved dogs on leads to all of our garden centres. Dogs can accompany their owners everywhere except the indoor restaurant areas - however, they are permitted in the outdoor patio areas of the restaurants."

But Whitehall Garden Centre said: "It is not practical to allow dogs into our centres. With the farm shops and restaurants at both sites and the amount of families with children, we have had to enforce a no-dog policy." Bents now has a Pet Cafe and Summerhill Garden Centre provides drinking water and "doggy bags for all responsible owners".

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