Doggy dining update

As part of our L.A. getaway, Amy and I spent Sunday walking in the Sunset Beach area, soaking up some sun and eventually stopped by an ocean-view café for a drink.

The Sunday brunch crowd was coming and going, and two separate groups of people brought their dogs onto the patio. I asked our server about doggy dining in Orange County and she said she didn’t know but that the health inspectors didn’t complain and the servers had doggy biscuits for polite pooches. But she also volunteered that if it’s crowded, or the dog appears aggressive, she has no problem telling the owner to tie the dog up on the outside of the patio. Sounds good to us.

In other regions, the Tennessee Senate State and Local Government Committee is set to vote Tuesday on a bill that would allow cities with a population of more than 100,000 — no idea why the population limit — can enact local ordinances to permit doggy dining under certain circumstances.

A restaurant would have to apply for a local permit to let a "companion dog" on its premises, but only in outdoor seating areas.

The bill would also require:

• accidents involving companion dog waste shall be cleaned immediately;
• a kit with the appropriate materials for such (cleaning) use shall be kept near the designated outdoor area" where dogs are permitted;
• all public food service establishment employees shall wash their hands promptly after touching, petting or otherwise handling a companion dog; and,
• companion dogs shall not be allowed on chairs, tables or other furnishings.

Meanwhile, the Jacksonville, Florida, City Council held a public hearing last week on whether dogs should be allowed at restaurants with outdoor seating.

Jim Provoncios, who supports dogs dining at area restaurant, said,

"I do think that’s OK, as long as there’s a provision like a water bowl or keeping dogs close to their owners, and as long as they can’t walk around."

An opponent of the proposal was quoted as telling the meeting,

"You’ve passed laws that say you don’t want to tolerate smoke when you’re eating in a restaurant, but I don’t want a dog to poop on my shoe while I’m eating, either. I don’t want to encounter fleas while eating."

Another man was quoted as saying,

"I think it’s fine. As long as the dogs leave 15 percent, then it’s fine."