Publix reminds customers non-service animals are not allowed in stores, sparks controversy

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Nicholas Karsen
Published: Updated:
Publix store in Apopka, Florida. Credit:

Publix has sparked controversy in Florida with large signs reminding customers that all non-service animals are not allowed in stores.

“Under federal law, service animals are dogs or miniature horses trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities,” the sign reads. “Non-service animals are not allowed in grocery stores by the FDA. Dogs, pets and other animals whose sole function is to provide comfort, companionship, or emotional support do not qualify as service animals and are not permitted in Publix, even with a doctor’s note.”

The public might be surprised by the sudden reinforcement of this rule, but the policy has been active since Publix began service. Despite this, people have expressed their opinions on the subject.

Publix service animal policy states that only service animals are allowed in the stores and must be under the control of the handler with a harness or leash. The animals are prohibited from being placed in the shopping cart or basket.

People might suggest a loophole in the policy by using an emotional support animal. However, emotional support animals are not allowed in the stores.

A service dog is trained to do work or perform tasks to help a person with a disability. While an emotional support animal doesn’t have to adhere to any behavior standards or training. The only requirement for an emotional support animal is to only provide emotional support, comfort or companionship.

To prevent people from claiming that their pet is a service animal, Publix includes the message on advisory signs that it’s illegal to fraudulently misrepresent your pet.

Let us know how you feel about the policy on Facebook and X.

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