GOT A PET PEEVE?
Somehow word has gotten around that the Little Italy Mercato is pet friendly. It's easy to understand how that's happened. Little Italy is possibly the most dog-centric neigborhood in San Diego, despite the small condos that provide most of our housing. Our market is on a city street, and plenty of our neighbors pass by on their way to the de facto dog park at Washington Elementary School. Vendors offer natural pet food, treats, and pet portraits in Amici Park at the market just east of State Street. And our staff is a dog loving bunch outside the market.
But CalCode, the set of regulations that govern food safety at restaurants, grocery stores and yes, farmers' markets and special events, is not so pet friendly. While not restricting service animals, those regulations require that live animals be kept 20 feet from places where food is prepared or stored for sale to the public. In a crowded market like ours, that's tough to accomplish if you're bringing your dog along to help you shop.
Aside from the health regulation issue, the Little Italy farmers' market with its amazing farmers and vendors, live music, and water view is a popular place. It attracts a whole lot of shoppers and Date Street can get tricky to maneuver, even without leashes and dogs below eye level making things harder. We don't want a shopper to trip and injure themselves or one of our canine friends. Pets can be stressed out in large crowds of unfamiliar people and may act unpredictably. That can't be fun for you or your dog.
So while we will never restrict service animals, and won't put you in an embarrassing or stressful situation by asking if your dog is serving a purpose covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, we have posted larger signs reminding you of health code requirements, and we are asking our patrons to shop responsibly so the market can provide a pleasant experience for everyone. Because our two-legged and four-legged friends all deserve that treat!