Doggie dining: New York style

Dogs can now legally dine with their owners at outdoor restaurants in New York state thanks to legislation signed into law Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

dogs.lucy.brodyThe bill, introduced by Asssembly woman Linda Rosenthal this year, makes it legal for dining establishments across the state to permit dogs in their outdoor spaces, which was previously prohibited.

It will ultimately be up to restaurant owners to set their own policies on whether dogs are allowed outside, according to the law.

Rosenthal said the jury is still out on whether a bill will be introduced permitting other pets to eat out with their owners after a woman was spotted dining with her cat at the Upper West Side restaurant RedFarm this past May.

“My cats, Vita and Marlow, prefer to take their meals at home,” the assemblywoman said.

Doggie dining for the Gold Coast?

If Queensland is the Florida of Australia, the Gold Coast aspires to be Miami’s South Beach but often drifts into Pensecola territory.

A more accurate estimation may be Sarasota and, like there, the Gold Coast is set to approve doggie dining.

Florida authorized local governments to create doggie dining in 2006, and Sarasota and Manatee counties enacted ordinances in 2007.

 Since then, the concept has taken off in Sarasota, where no major problems have been reported.

Rules require hand sanitizer to be available for patrons, and restaurant staff are prohibited from touching the pets while working. Any accidents must be promptly cleaned up. 

This seems entirely sensible, as long as the rules are followed and yahoos kept to a minimum.

The Courier Mail reports Gold Coast City Council has voted in support of allowing pet pooches in alfresco eateries.

Mayor Tom Tate said the council had voted to support proposed changes by Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) giving cafe and restaurant owners discretion to allow companion dogs in outdoor dining areas.

"While the decision to adopt amended food standards is ultimately the decision of the State Government, Council voted to make a submission to FSANZ to outline its support for the rights of food business owners to choose whether they wish to allow dogs,” Cr Tate said.

Restaurant to be vigilant against doggy butt infractions after warning

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I scan celebrity trash news sites like TMZ looking for food safety ledes.


And this is the unacceptable version of doggy dining.

Celebtard Aubrey O’Day’s decision to let her dogs rub their butts all over the table at a popular L.A. eatery last week has triggered a Health Dept. investigation, TMZ has learned, because, quite frankly, it’s disgusting.

TMZ broke the story, the "Celebrity Apprentice" star let her puppys wag their naked asses all over her table at Toast for several minutes, before finally putting the poochies on the ground.


Now, a rep for the L.A. Public Health Dept. tells TMZ, a health inspector has visited the restaurant to remind employees about pet guidelines, specifically the one that reads, "Pets shall not be allowed on chairs, seats, benches and tables."

The rep adds, "The Health Dept would like people to enjoy eating with their pets, but we also want people to be respectful to other people."

We’re told the staff was quite receptive to the official, and no citations or warnings were issued.

A rep for Toast tells us the restaurant will be "extremely vigilant" about future potential anal infractions.

Doggie dining Japan-style

As more towns in Florida embrace legalized doggie dining, Japan is grappling with a lack of registration and poor sanitation.

The Japanese version is not-so-much about owners bringing their pooches to dinner, it’s for career-minded 30-somethings who are too busy to care for a pet to have 30 minutes of animal interaction.

The Daily Yomiuri Online reports the trend began with so-called cat cafes, and there are now more than 120 establishments nationwide where people can enjoy the healing effects of being surrounded by animals such as dogs, birds, goats and rabbits.

However, some shops have not registered as required with local governments, and experts are warning them to be aware that some diseases can be transmitted from animals to people.

According to Norimasa Hanada, 39, who opened a cat cafe ahead of the boom in 2005 in Machida, western Tokyo, and runs a Web site "Zenkoku Neko Cafe Map," there are at least 120 cat cafes nationwide. Newer shops featuring dogs, goats and birds also have have opened recently, he said.

Besides offering cats to pet, some cafes have begun activities to help protect the animals. Ekoneko, a cat cafe that opened in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward in October, works with Little Cats, a nonprofit organization based in Kofu that works to find homes for stray cats.

According to the Tokyo metropolitan government’s animal care counseling center, animal cafes at which customers pay admission fees fall under the category of "exhibition" facilities, and are regulated by the Animal Protection Law like zoos and aquariums.

For this reason, such shops are required to register with prefectural governments as businesses that deal with animals and employ a regular staff member possessing an animal health technician license or other such qualification.

A cafe in Nerima Ward, which charges 200 yen per 30 minutes on top of a drink fee, touts on its Web site that customers can play with animals at the shop.

"I didn’t even know about the registration requirement. I don’t have time to obtain the qualification," the cafe’s female owner said.

A female manager of a cafe in Tokyo, who was patting an animal’s head over a fence, said: "We haven’t registered as we just keep the animals outside the cafe. These animals are not exhibited inside the premises."

She said the center staff who visited her cafe to confirm the situation had judged it was unnecessary for the establishment to register as it did not charge a separate fee to exhibit the animals.

Sharing tips, doggie dining and escaping DC; the TGI Friday’s airport version

TGI Friday’s, a standard fare, sit-down restaurant chain found in many U.S. airports, now includes a Sharing Guide, a somewhat feeble attempt to be humorous and encourage consumption of TGI deliciousness – or whatever the food should be called.

Being the food safety nerd, I initially thought the guide perhaps had some food safety merit. But I soon realized the spinach dip technique actually encouraged the dreaded double-dip. The licking a friend’s fingers thing looked weirdly androgynous.

Then, while sitting at TGI Friday’s on Monday waiting for the planes to finally start flying again out of Reagan International Airport in Washington, D.C. — to escape Snowmageddon as the locals were calling the storm – a woman briskly walked into the restaurant carrying a pocket pooch, sat down and ordered food while caressing the dog. The woman also had a dog carrier, but the little fella had to be out and about.

I guess doggie dining inside establishments is OK in D.C. We’re glad to be home.