Dogs at the Farmers’ Markets has been an ongoing issue, about which there is a significant amount of comment. For the first 14 years of the Howe Meadow Farmers’ Market, dogs (with the exception of service animals) were not permitted. During that time, many customers expressed a desire to bring their dog.
In 2018, in response to the accumulation of this feedback, as well as social and business trends, we allowed dogs for full market hours as a pilot. We
received thanks from folks who were happy to be able to bring their dogs AND we heard from folks who were not pleased with their presence. There are
numerous valid points on both sides of the issue.
We understand the deep connection that dog-owners feel with their pets and we understand that the Howe Meadow Farmers’ Market is in a beautiful public
space that is ideal for spending quality time with your pup.
We also understand that many people (often children) are uncomfortable or afraid of dogs - generally, as the result of past trauma (both dog and not dog related), or based on various disabilities or sensory processing sensitivities. We recognize the discomfort that customers feel about dogs in the vicinity of unpackaged food, and food being cooked and consumed. This presents both physical and food safety concerns, as well as economic concerns for vendors related to contaminated or damaged product.
Ultimately, we want everyone to feel welcome and safe at the market. After careful consideration of feedback received, as well as review of incidents that
occurred during the pilot season, we have introduced Yappy Hour; dogs are permitted between 11am and noon. This policy is intended to provide everyone
with the opportunity to attend the market and have an enjoyable experience.
We encourage all customers to be open-minded to both the intent of the policy and their experience. We encourage folks to extend understanding and compassion
to other customers, vendors, and market staff. Yappy Hour is also a pilot policy and we continue to encourage thoughtful, considerate, and productive
Dogs will be welcome for the full hours of the Highland Square Farmers’ Market.
Dogs are not permitted at Countryside Public Market.
Nuances of each location and the agreements in place allowing Countryside to utilize each space are important factors in determining the policy in place at individual markets.