Doggies Dine Dallas

The Dallas City Council voted Wednesday to allow dogs on outdoor restaurant patios, joining several cities and states—including Florida; Austin, Texas; and Alexandria, Virginia—with similar ordinances.

The law states that restaurants can let pooches dine al fresco with their parents as long as the eatery provides a separate entrance for the outdoor patio, installs curtains to shield diners inside from glimpses of the four-legged guests, and keeps dogs from clambering on furniture or touching servers.

But some councilmembers said those rules were unenforceable and that the law was akin to creating dog parks all over the city. In the measured words of one:

We don’t have the staff to check this. We don’t know if the restaurants are going to clean up every 30 minutes. I don’t want to go to a restaurant and see a dog going to the bathroom there.

But that’s exactly what’s been happening at the first official “doggie dining” joint in St. Petersburg, Florida, which became overrun with canines after publicizing its new policy. The same day that Dallas announced its ordinance, the St. Petersburg Times reported that the Moon Under Water restaurant had received complaints from customers and the city that “tables weren’t properly sanitized and dogs weren’t confined to their leashes,” among other things. Rather than put additional staff on poop detail, the owner decided to disallow dogs.

As a restaurant-goer, how do you feel about doggie dining—should dogs be allowed inside eateries (as they apparently are in Europe), relegated to the patio, or banned altogether? Had any bad experiences, or is it comforting and fun to see dogs in the dining room?

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