Feel like dining al fresco with your pooch on a patio? In New York, a new law has passed that makes it legal to eat with your dog on restaurant patios.
Its official! Date night in New York no longer means the family pooch gets left behind when pet parents decide to nosh at their local. By law, pooches are now permitted to join in on the fun at area restaurant patios and outdoor spaces.
It seems the bill that was initially sponsored by Assemblywoman and self-proclaimed animal champion Linda B. Rosenthal in spring 2015, was signed into law this week by Governor Andrew Cuomo. It means that New York now joins California, Florida and Maryland when it comes to allowing restaurateurs to welcome patrons with pooches into their establishments.
Of course the “good boy” rule applies for both pets and owners alike. Rover must be leashed, must enter the area via the patio (versus the restaurant), will not be allowed into any outdoor areas where food prep is taking place and servers, chefs, hostesses will not be permitted to interact with him. And while the decision to allow both two- and four-legged patrons onto the premises is ultimately that of the restaurant, the initial bill was encouraged by animal lovers and restaurateurs alike.
“This action will give restaurants an additional option to boost revenue and grow their businesses by appealing to this new audience of dog-owning New Yorkers and their four-legged friends,” Cuomo said. “By allowing this additional flexibility and by establishing firm health and sanitary guidelines, this legislation strikes a right balance.”
As with most political decisions, numbers can often influence the outcomes and a recent survey by Siena College in Albany County suggests 57 percent of New Yorkers consider themselves “dog people” while 17 percent call themselves “cat people.”
Hmmm… that may explain why legislation intended to help New York’s feral felines didn’t fare so well. The same Cuomo nixed a proposal to fund organizations that trap and neuter feral cats and then release them back into the wild. I guess the 17 percent who favor felines weren’t sufficient to move this politician to review existing laws that make it a misdemeanor to release wild cats into the environment. He also noted that feral felines pose a significant threat to local wildlife such as birds. I would think rats, mice and other forms of vermin as well, but that’s for another day.
Today, we toast the decision that lets our little guys sip, sup and savor New York’s many restaurants alongside their favorite person in the world.
Mary Simpson is a writer and communications professional from Port Credit, Ontario. A soft touch for anything stray, she shares her century home with an eclectic collection of rescues that include Schnoodles, Lexie and Ruby James as well as tuxedo Simon, and ginger Harry. She enjoys running, politics, exploring the wine regions of Niagara and is an avid supporter of the “shop local” movement.