LA eateries may now offer doggie dining

We miss our dogs.

The cocker spaniel is chasing down rabbits in Nebraska, and the Heinz-57 shorthair Aussie shepherd in herding cattle in Kansas.

So, not as much interest in the doggie dining stories.

But if we move to Los Angeles, the dogs would be welcome at many restaurants under a new policy announced Monday.

Effective immediately, eateries with outdoor dining areas have the option to invite dog owners to chow down with their pets, county officials said.

Though it will be up to each restaurants’ discretion whether to allow animals in outdoor dining areas, the new policy is sure to be a boon to local eateries and the larger community, said county Supervisor Don Knabe.

“Guidelines have been established to protect food safety and ensure safety for all patrons,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, the county’s top health officer. “We urge all dog owners to follow these guidelines in order to provide the best possible dining experience for both people and dogs.”

Among other stipulations, the new guidelines prohibit food preparation on the patios and prohibit restaurant employees from having direct contact with pets.
In addition, eatery owners are obligated to follow local city ordinances related to sidewalk, public nuisance and sanitation issues, authorities said.

Fancy dining for dogs in UK has covered public health aspects of dogs hanging out in places where people eat and shop.

But not this kind of dogggy dining.

Opening for two months to help raise money for the Charity Dogs Trust – Lily’s Kitchen Diner is open for doggy dining, relaxing with a book and tummy rubs (right).

Below, left, is what goes on in the backrooms.

Doggie dining (on patios) allowed in N.C., Wake Co. attorney throws restaurant owners a bone

The ongoing saga of doggie dining in North Carolina gets a bit muddier. Today, a Wake County attorney weighed in on health authorities enforcing a "no live animals in food preparation areas" rule by not allowing dogs on patios.

Attorney Scott Warren says he thinks the rule is meant to keep animals out of kitchen areas where food is prepared or pantry areas where food is stored. He says that means it’s up to restaurants to decide whether to allow animals on patios, unless federal law protects that right.

Dog or beef for dinner?

I think it’s funny the way my roommate from India always asks before taking food from anyone if it contains any beef.

If the answer is yes, she tries hard to hide her face of disgust and politely says, “No thanks.”

It is not surprising. Indians consider cows to be sacred and magical, more than what we think of our pets.

I imagine the same reaction in American tourists when scanning the dog section of a restaurant menu during their trip to the Olympics.

The Beijing Catering Trade Association banned dog meat from the Menu of all the 112 designated Olympic Restaurants, to avoid this reaction of dog-loving tourists.

It is a big disappointment for those who were daring enough to try this treat they would never be able to consume in their own countries.

However, it is probably not going to affect the residents, since they don’t tend to eat dog meat during the hot months of summer anyway.

All this fuss about banning dog meat in Beijing during the Olympic season makes me wonder if officers should be more concerned about food safety rather than scaring off a few tourists.

In the end, isn’t killing a dog for its meat the same as having beef for dinner? My Indian roommate would probably agree.

Doggy dining: Dallas update

The Dallas City Council last year passed a measure allowing establishments to obtain doggy dining permits so long as they abided by the city safety and health regulations.

Instead, the effort to create a more urbane atmosphere in Dallas’ dining corridors is, according to The Dallas Morning News, a doggone blunder, and that more than a year later, Dallas hasn’t issued a single dog-on-patio permit, having received only six applications in the first place.

Acknowledging that the ordinance isn’t working, the City Council’s Quality of Life and Government Services Committee on Monday will consider revamping the law in hopes of making it work as intended.

Among the changes the council is scheduled to consider Monday is scrapping a provision requiring restaurants to install doorway-mounted "air curtains" designed to keep dog hair and dander from reaching inside the facility.

Restaurateurs complained that the devices are unsightly, loud and expensive – more than $1,000 in some cases.

They also lamented a provision requiring restaurant employees to clean an outdoor patio every 30 minutes – another provision the council will consider deleting.

If the committee approves the changes, the full council is scheduled to vote on the revised ordinance March 26, according to city documents.

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."

Riding in Cars

Doug and I just returned from a 10-day road trip to Florida and back to Kansas with three of his teenage girls. The journey to Florida was reasonably broken up into segments and we chose towns, hotels, and restaurants that would accommodate our diverse interests and needs. On the trip back we started talking about the next time we do this trip, when it’s just the two of us, we can drive down with our two dogs and rent a house near a beach on the Gulf somewhere.

When I read yesterday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch story, “City aldermen loosen leash on dogs dining at restaurants” in FSnet, I added St. Louis to the list of places we can stop on that next trip. Taking a road trip with dogs, like kids, means special consideration about where and how long to stop, and what kinds of towns, hotels, and restaurants we patronize – especially in the summer when it is dangerous to leave the puppies in the car. Cities committed to rules for safe doggy dining make it easier for us to keep our dogs safe while we dine on the road.