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Dog-friendly business campaign in La Crosse may not work well for everyone

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FILE - Unlikely top dog Rufus, a tan-and-white bull terrier and America's top dog after winning Best in Show in the Westminster Kennel Club show, stands over a table at Sardi's restaurant in New York, in this Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006. (AP Photo/Shiho Fukada, File)

Dozens of retail stores, restaurants, and other businesses in La Crosse are promoting themselves as dog-friendly places. 

They display paw stickers to show that dogs are welcome in the businesses, but there are some restrictions involving service animals. 

4th and Pearl in La Crosse

Marissa Mundinger with Downtown Mainstreet, Incorporated is coordinating the dog program. She says there are do’s and don’ts involved. The do’s include keeping dogs on a leash, letting other dogs pass, and cleaning up after your pet.

As for what not to do? “Not to allow your dog to approach others, unless they have given verbal consent,” Marissa says. “Don’t leave your dog unattended, don’t take your dog into places they are not welcome.”

The city’s committee for citizens with disabilities heard on Wednesday from Liz Fryseth, who is sight-impaired and uses a service dog. She told the committee of a bad encounter she and her dog had with someone else’s dog, while in a La Crosse business.

“I have been attacked” with pet owners’ dogs, Fryseth says. She says the other owners will say things such as “Well, he’s never acted like this before,” or “he’s friendly.”

Fryseth says she had to call 9-1-1, and claims local law enforcement has not responded to her complaints.

Mundinger says DMI has talked with the woman, and is looking into better safety practices.

Almost 50 businesses in La Crosse have signed up to advertise themselves as dog-friendly.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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