Grocery store owners cited for allowing dogs inside

After pulling King County Health Inspection reports for grocery stores, we found several grocery stores violating the health code for allowing dogs inside the store.
Out of 11 grocery stores cited in 2013 for a violation that includes the presence of insects, rodents, and other animals, 3 were cited for dogs present.
Inspectors found that store owners at Burien Market, Sam's Market in Federal Way, and Corner Market in Redmond brought their pets to work.
When we visited Sam's Market, the owner still had her pet Yorkie behind the counter.

She didn't think the violation was a problem.

"I never think about (it) as problem we don’t have any deli food, just all packaging," said the owner.

At Corner Market, the owner said he stopped bringing his pet Chihuahua after he was cited by the Health Department.

King County Health officials say these types of violations are not a high priority for the county.

"It is not the most serious risk," said Becky Elias, King County food inspection manager.

She said the more important issues are food temperatures and proper hand washing.

Still, customers like Acacia Portlock think dogs near food does pose a health risk.

"They slobber and spread germs and you never know what's on animals and this is where we put our food and our babies. I just think it's a bad combination," said Portlock.

Service dogs are the only dogs that are exempt from the rule.

Brenda Crist volunteers and socializes dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

She said service dogs are trained for almost a year and a half to make sure they understand commands and do not have an accident in grocery stores.

"Somebody brings in a dog that isn't a service dog and he’ll poop or pee on the floor, our dogs have to be have to hold it," said Crist.

King County health says that people who see dogs in grocery stores can call, and an inspector will check the grocery store.

However, a dog must be there when the inspector is there in order to cite the store.

A spokesperson said that's why many grocery stores don't have citations for allowing dogs inside.