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Crazy Mocha in Sewickley bans 4-legged patrons

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Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008

It wasn't just the coffee and baked goods that attracted Nicole Story to Sewickley's Crazy Mocha.

Story, 26, of Sewickley, became a regular after she and her dog, Gwendolyn, made friends with others who frequented the local coffee shop.

"Crazy Mocha became a part of my daily life," Story said. "We would visit in the morning, afternoon and evening. And we'd come back later at night to check e-mail and socialize with some of the others."

That all changed on Nov. 18 when the Allegheny County Health Department cited the coffee shop for allowing dogs inside the establishment, said spokesman Dave Zazac.

"We received a complaint about animals being in the Crazy Mocha establishment," Zazac said. "At no point are animals allowed in any food services establishment with the exception of service dogs."

The coffee shop was forced to comply with health department regulations, and Crazy Mocha manager Tammy Kerr said many customers seem to like the ban.

Reports of dogs inside eateries is uncommon, Zazac said.

He said the complaint in Sewickley was the first of its kind this year.

"It's very rare as far as food establishments go," Zazac said.

Story was saddened by the news that the place she had visited for almost a year with her 1-year-old pocket puggle -- a pug/beagle mix -- would no longer welcome her pet.

Story said she now spends about $2.25 a day at Crazy Mocha, down from $20 -- a tally that included cookies and biscotti for Gwendolyn.

"Crazy Mocha is losing money from me," Story said.

"It became a problem when many dog owners would bring their dogs that aren't well behaved in," said Dana Oneill, a regular customer.

Story said Crazy Mocha isn't the only Sewickley business she's patronized with Gwendolyn, listing at least three other eateries and restaurants. She said she was kicked out of one.

Zazac encourages people to report complaints to the health department.

"We will respond to any complaint registered with us," he said. "It is the responsibility of the establishment owner to make sure people don't bring animals in."

Additional Information:

At a glance

To file a complaint with the Allegheny County Health Department about animals (except for service dogs) being inside eating establishments, visit' and click on 'register a complaint' on the left. Call 412-578-8044, or e-mail

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