Franklin Farmers Market arrives at Decision on Dogs in the Market

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Market Customers frequently cast their votes and comments the past few weeks

To a lot of people, dogs are just like their kids. So we knew when we asked the question of whether dogs should be banned or allowed at the Franklin Farmers Market that a huge number of you would voice your opinions.  The question really struck a nerve on both sides of the issue. A lot of people told us how disappointing it would be if dogs were not allowed at the market anymore while many others told us about their concerns over the safety and sanitary issues that the dogs bring about.

We’ve heard from people who used to bring their dogs to market, but no longer do so because they worry about dog fights and other safety concerns. We’ve heard from people who said they would no longer come to the market if dogs were banned. Many people have told us they saw dogs relieving themselves in the market shed, while others said they had never seen any dog misbehaving.  And we’ve also heard from people who worry about their kids being bitten by an otherwise gentle dog because of the tight spaces under the shed on a busy market day.

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Rapid growth in 2013 has crowded the shopping isles during peak spring and summer months pushing young children and dogs close together

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The FFM assembles the largest group of Tennessee Farmers available to Middle Tennesseans each Saturday morning of the year

The Franklin Farmers Market has grown into one of the largest and most popular farmers markets in the state and the number of people visiting the market each Saturday has skyrocketed. But the number of dogs at the market has also increased rapidly and a packed market with people and dogs can cause big problems.

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During peak season a long line of cars wait for entrance into the market

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The FFM is no longer just under the big shed having doubled in size to include the parking lot next to the shed

We love dogs. Whether they’re little or big; pedigreed or mutts, we love them all. There are dogs that have been coming to the market for years now that we know by name and look forward to seeing every Saturday. So making a decision on whether dogs should stay or go has been very tough. For over a year, we’ve looked for solutions. We’ve researched markets across the country on their dog policies. We’ve considered alternatives, such having dog-friendly hours at the market. We’ve talked to health safety officials about the dogs coming in contact with food at the market and we’ve gone through all of the responses to our questions about having dogs at the market.

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Most of the larger farmer markets across the United States have found the need to keep dogs out of the food and produce area of markets as this photo shows at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in downtown San Francisco, California

As a result of all of the above, the board of the Franklin Farmers Market has decided that dogs will no longer be allowed at the market. It wasn’t an easy decision. Board president Ralph Cole summed it up by saying that experiences in the last two years have shown that the market will be safer for everyone if dogs are no longer allowed at the market and that the board’s decision will ultimately be best for everyone.

The ban on dogs at the Franklin Farmers Market will go into effect on January 1st, 2014. The ban does not apply to service dogs.

As covered by the Tennessean.

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The Franklin Farmers Market supplies fresh farm produce, baked goods and ready to eat food to thousands of Franklin area families each Saturday all year long

29 thoughts on “Franklin Farmers Market arrives at Decision on Dogs in the Market

  1. SS

    This is so unbelievably disappointing. This step was too drastic. I don’t doubt that select people may have had unpleasant experiences, but I am at that market every Saturday that weather allows and I have never seen such an issue. Having dogs at the market is wonderful socialization for adults, children, and dogs alike. It was part of the charm and allure that the FFM had to offer. The voting for this should not have been done in the winter months during the low traffic period and it should have been better publicized. It wasn’t until multiple vendors sought my puppy and I out while wandering the market to question if I voted that I even knew there was decision being debated. The FFM has lost my family and me as customers. My puppy will greatly miss visiting her favorite vendors.

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  2. Leslie

    I loved bringing my dog to the market. It was a part of the appeal. Family, music, fun, food, and pet friendly… I have raved about all of these things to friends and co-workers, inviting them out to our all inclusive market. I personally come to the market every Sat. It’s become a part of my routine. I think the voting was done too quickly and in the off season months where not every voice has been heard. I have always been respectful of peoples space and kept my dog from approaching those who weren’t openly inviting a Hello. I’m not happy with yet another restriction/rule/law.

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  3. Gigi Stocks and Sophie Stocks

    We love going to the Franklin Farmers market every Saturday morning. I shop for my veggies for the week, herbs, plants, fun items, love the music, pick up my Devlin Farms Box, and bring my little Westie, Sophie. All the kids love her and want to come pet her and even have photos with her and Sophie has so much fun seeing all the people, venders, and other pups. All the dogs are on leashes and I have never seen a problem with anyone and a dog and I frequent the market almost every week. I think dog owners know their dogs and don’t bring them to a market like ours if they don’t behave well. If their dogs don’t behave and bark at everything in sight, or if they are snappy, the owners should know they shouldn’t be there and they SHOULD leave their dogs at home!
    I disagree with this dog ban and the Franklin Farmers Market should have held this vote in the springtime when more people are there to vote instead of the winter!
    As for Sophie and I, we will both ban the Franklin Farmers market as they did to her. Good bye vendors… We will find another market to buy from that allows pups!

    Gigi Stocks and Sophie

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  4. Kimberly

    Strange how dogs are allowed on the inside of the factory, yet now the “outside” has banned them. As a protest, I will bring my new puppy and stay on the outskirts of the market, and when anyone wants to pet him, I’ll tell them no. I shouldn’t have to deal with just anyone coming to pet him, they might have germs on their hands, or might be too hyper for my taste. How rude it is when people just assume they can pet my dog! My dog shouldn’t have to deal with rabid crowds of consumers! <– this is how ridiculous it sounds when people complain about dogs to me. It's called "socialization" for a reason…apparently, some people would rather boss others around to get their way than learn to live with differences in environment. I'll probably bring my dog to the market anyway, just to see the response. I'd bet that almost everyone would not even mind the presence of a fluffy little puppy.

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  5. Freddie Haddox

    Hard decisions have to be made. “The greatest good for the greatest number.” We all love dogs. We all have at least one dog, most of us. Call it progress. Somebody always gets hurt when a civilized society moves forward, progressing.
    Fredddie

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  6. VHoover

    While I love to see dogs, I am terribly allergic to ALL animals. Even a simple rub against my skin breaks into hives. I have avoided the market since a very nice encounter in September with a dog on a short leash nuzzling my hand as I was gathering fresh kale. I find it uneasy to relay to pet companions I cannot have any contact with their animal, as it only takes a moment to smile lovingly at a dog and then I have to reject them for my safety. It is uncomfortable for the owners to see the rejection & for me to continually see the disappointment. I will happily return in 2014!

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  7. Dan

    Great decision. Dogs can socialize in parks and not where people are trying to buy food. I read a comment about not allowing strollers at the market. SMH! Little kids cannot stay home alone, tied on a leash – it is against the law – so, strollers are at times unavoidable when one has little kids. Dogs can stay home alone for a little bit while their owners get groceries and then play later in parks or in their neighborhood, if permitted to do so.

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  8. MR

    People that bring dogs everywhere people go are the few. The few who disrespect the enviroment of others around them, the rules of private property (just go to Home Depot or Lowes that clearly display no pet signs.) these are the same people. They are selfish and self absorbed. Dogs do not belong anywhere around other peoples food, around other people that did not choose to visit a zoo, others that have the common sense to leave fido and other critters at home. The Farmers Market is about people, food, family. Its not a dog park. We planning a visit next weekend and will support this intelligent decision with spreading money around of the newly dog free shopping enviroment, yay!

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  9. Matthew

    I am not sure whether or not I will come back to the market. My three-legged dog has provided many opportunities for children with and without disabilities to learn about overcoming adversity and that we are all diverse. This education happened every Saturday at the market. My dog put a lot of smiles on a lot of people’s faces and I personally asked every vendor what they thought about dogs at the market and they said it enhanced the community and made it more of market and not a grocery store. And that is what a farmers market is all about-COMMUNITY.

    I also believe the Vice President of the board, (I believe Sheryl was her name) had this decision already made, regardless of feedback. When I spoke with her for a half an hour; I explained to her that I was a local attorney and that there could be some simple steps taken to prevent unsanitary issues and liability, but she certaintly wasn’t interested in hearing them. I would have liked to work with the Board to implement these steps and then if they did not work then the decision could have been made to ban animals. The Factory has taken these steps to ensure liability protection and a sanitary environment that is still essential to an education diverse community. I also work in a grocery store on weekends so being an attorney and a grocery store part-timer I thought that maybe I could bring a unique perspective but the decision was made abruptly and without trying something else first.

    I will probably continue to come to the market because I don’t want the vendors to lose customers over a tough decision.

    My kindest regards,
    Matt

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  10. ROO

    Making rules will never produce a situation where all feel welcome and comfortable. People are a problem, kids (not mine of course :-)) and dogs all are potential disruptions. The point here is we should not profess to be a kind, caring organization (market) and be about RULES! If a vendor is a problem…poor quality, poor customer service, then that vendor should comply with standards or not display product.

    We do not make rules we make decisions based on kindness and consideration for others. A free and open environment where all are welcome and life is to be lived is what I believed the Market stood for…I must have been mistaken. Most sad to discover that a few want to determine the life of the many.

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  11. Sarah Karafa

    Yes, the few almost always ruin a good thing for the MANY who are more responsible. I think the decision was very hasty considering no other constructive measures (that I’m aware) were attempted first. I strongly believe that putting in some basic rules for bringing dogs to the market, such as requiring short leashes (no flexi’s) and perhaps requiring a CGC certificate (AKC Canine Good Citizen) would have been a more astute ‘next step’. Additional measures such as keeping dogs on the perimeter of the barn area, signing in when you bring your dog, or requiring proof of vaccinations are steps that might weed out irresponsible owners. I also think this decision is a hasty mistake considering that The Factory building ALLOWS dogs on leash. James, Brenda, Anne, Carol and of course all of Miss Ellie’s crew… we’ll miss you next year!!! Sarah, Lucca and Wyatt…

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  12. steve anderson

    Glad to see they made a correct call on a tough decision…I love dogs but do not want to fight them, their leashes and their owners that do not control them at the FFM…will be much more enjoyable now! thanks FFM!

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  13. Mike R

    Thank goodness for some common sense. My wife and I are animal lovers, and have multiple pets. They are part of our family but they are not people, we do not force them on society, or anyone for that matter. We found that each time we visted the market we we subjected to dogs coming right up to us, invading our personal space. Furthermore we are grateful that we can now purchase FOOD in a enviroment free from exposure to excrement and urine. It seemed that the only dog people that brought their dogs to a densly populated food market were the special people with special dogs. Just because one thinks they are people does not make them into people. If dogs should be allowed then we will start bringing our pet cougar. He loves people and dogs! We will be shopping the market more frequently now that they have stood up for the silent majority!

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  14. beel

    Some people need to realize that dogs are NOT people. Dogs do not belong at certain venues, period. Sanitary and safety issues are the major concerns. Get over yourselves if you are one of those “rabid” dog lovers.

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    1. Jennifer

      Thank you to the FFM for making this decision. “Dog people” need to understand that their love of dogs should not be imposed upon everyone. What if people started bringing all of their pets there? It is not a freaking zoo, it is a farmers market where people purchase food. Animals do not belong there.

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      1. Matthew

        This is a terrible argument; the same fear of “if we bring dogs, then cougars or all zoo animals will show up,” is as ridiculous as “if we allow homosexual couple to marry, then what’s to stop them from marrying animals or their sister.” It’s not a “if this happens then the world will end scenario.” No one has brought zoo animals or cougars in the past and there is no empirical evidence that all of the sudden because a Farmers Market, that is continuing to do what they have done for years and what farmers markets all over the country do will all of the sudden cause this increasing influx of all kinds of animals.

        My kindest regards,
        Matt

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  15. Carmen Klapperich

    Thank for making the difficult decision. I am glad that small children, people in wheelchairs, and people with mobility issues will not have to worry about close encounters with strange dogs while shopping for food.

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    1. Granny

      THANK YOU!!!
      Although I have enjoyed the interactions of kind dog owners sharing their “loves” with all, I am happy that they will be banned and not inadvertently injured or challenged in the crowded market.

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  16. RSG

    I have eight dogs, they are like my children. Four live in the house with me and four are spoiled goat dogs that would hate to be in the house. All get home prepared food daily. That said, not a one of them belongs around food vending even after recent baths. I think this is a good decision. Keep food clean. Maybe a dog park could be established in the area?

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  17. sharon green

    we knew this voting thing was just a ruse. this was just a way to appease all of the people that thought they might have a say in whether the dogs would still be allowed. since the market has grown…why not think of doing something to make it more accessible for all, people, kids and their dogs. if you want it to keep growing you are going to have to think outside of the box. build a bigger canopy or move to a different location where the aisles can be wider and everyone can be under the covered area. getting rid of dogs is a sad commentary on loosing more rights. you should reconsider.

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  18. Shea

    While my kids and I will be so sad not to see our favorite furry friends at the market, I completely understand the decision. I have seen aggressive dogs at the market and I have seen dogs “do their business” in inappropriate areas and their owners not noticing or ignoring it. I don’t care how much you love your fur baby, if he or she was not well mannered and you didn’t pay attention to their bathroom needs, you are the reason this rule had to happen. We will continue to come to the market and buy from all the amazing farmers who come to sell their amazing produce and meats and treats. Thank you, FFM, for working so hard to keep the market the best experience possible for everyone.

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    1. Carolyn

      No disrespect to your comment, but frankly I have never had a stroller hike a back wheel and relieve itself on my filled shopping bag as I’m paying. No joke. Nor have I had to untangle myself from it, unlike a pet leash.

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      1. TSY

        No but Im certain your childrens snotty hands have touched the cheese or the produce from a vendors table I may have picked up. Bad parenting can be very similar to untrained dogs. The Franklin Market has lost our support as well. Its a shame the vendors are going to be the ones feeling the effect of this the most.

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