'bone-appétit' for California pooches under new law
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[August 22, 2014]
By Jennifer Chaussee
(Reuters) - California diners can now
legally enjoy a meal on a restaurant patio with their dogs in tow, under
a law signed Thursday by Governor Jerry Brown that eliminates health
code regulations banning restaurant owners from allowing pooches on the
Starting next year, California canines will be allowed to dine al
fresco if they are wearing leashes or are relaxing in a carrier.
"“I wish everyone ‘bone-appétit,’” quipped Democratic Assemblywoman
Mariko Yamada, the law's author. "Restaurateurs in California will
see more businesses catering to their customers and the canine
companions they love.”
The new law clarifies a section of the state’s health code that
banned dogs from restaurants altogether, including on outdoor patios
or courtyards. The rule has caused confusion because some local
governments choose to enforce the law, while others turned a blind
In counties where local officials were more lax about enforcement,
restaurant owners who encouraged their guests to bring their pups to
dinner were at risk of facing penalties for a health code violation.
“We’re thrilled that now restaurants will have more freedom to
determine for themselves the customers they’d like to serve,” said
Angelica Pappas, spokeswoman for the California Restaurant
Association. “For many, the four-legged kind - and their people -
are a hungry market.”
The law only allows dogs on restaurant patios if there is a separate
entrance where they can enter the outdoor area without entering the
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Further restrictions also ban dogs from sitting on chairs or
benches, mingling in kitchens, or making direct contact with servers
or cooks. Pet owners will also be held liable for any property
damage their dogs cause.
The law does not require local governments to allow pets on the
restaurant patios, however, so some may still ban them.
The law made it through the legislature with wide bipartisan
support. Governor Brown, whose dog Sutter Brown is a Sacramento icon
complete with his own Twitter account, did not comment on the
signing of the bill.
(Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Eric Walsh)
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