New York will allow dogs to dine Marni Turner, and her 10-year-old Poodle "Dougie," visit at an outdoor cafe on New York's Upper West Side. New York’s pooches will be able to venture onto restaurant patios under a new state law that will allow restaurants to open their outdoor dining areas to canine companions. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
New York will allow dogs to dine
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Dogs may now venture onto restaurant patios under a new state law in New York, allowing restaurants to open outdoor dining areas to them.

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law. States including California, Florida and Maryland have similar laws.

Dog lovers and many restaurant owners in New York support the idea, noting the pooches must be leashed and restaurants could choose to keep them out of outdoor eating areas. While health officials expressed worries, Cuomo said the law's "firm health and sanitary guidelines" strike the right balance.

"This action will give restaurants an additional option to boost revenue...by appealing to this new audience of dog-owning New Yorkers and their four-legged friends," Cuomo said.

Dog owners are delighted.

"I think this speaks volumes to where we are as a society and how most people with dogs view them as members of the family," said Kim Wolf, a New York City dog owner who works for an organization that helps people in poor neighborhoods care for their animals.

Restaurateur Michael O'Neal said he hopes the legislation will settle any uncertainty about bringing dogs to his Boat Basin Cafe, in Manhattan's Riverside Park. Dog owners often stroll through and sometimes stop in with their pets.

"In a park or in a sidewalk cafe, people should be allowed to have their dogs," O'Neal said Tuesday.

But health officials disagree.

The state Association of County Health Officials opposed the legislation this spring, saying it was "deeply concerned" about biting, sanitation and bringing "additional public health risks into food service establishments where none need exist."

But the association's members will follow the law, Executive Director Linda Wagner said.

As a Manhattan dog owner, Evelien Kong is enthusiastic about doggie dining, but she understands those who aren't.

"Maybe there's a happy medium," such as having dog-friendly and dog-free sections of restaurant patios, Kong said Monday night while walking her 8-year-old Shih Tzu, Gracie. "There has to be a healthy, mutual respect for both sides."

The bill's sponsor, Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, said "99.9 percent" of people she's spoken with support the measure.

"Once in a while you hear, 'I'm never going to go to restaurants that allow dogs,'" she said. "That's the beauty of the bill: The restaurant owner gets to choose."

Legislation intended to help New York's cats didn't fare so well. Cuomo vetoed a proposal to fund groups that trap and neuter feral cats and then release them back into the wild. In the veto, he noted that releasing wild cats is technically illegal and that feral felines threaten local wildlife such as birds.

A recent Siena College poll shows dog owners may have more political clout anyway. The survey found that 57 percent of New Yorkers consider themselves "dog people," while 17 percent call themselves "cat people."

Overall, 30 percent reported having a dog, 20 percent live with a cat and nearly 10 percent own at least one of each.

Cuomo has neither, but his girlfriend, chef Sandra Lee, has two cockatoos.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How does this new law help restaurants?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (47)
  • stephaniem-lam
    11/03/2015 - 02:32 p.m.

    This new law helps restaurants because the it will give restaurants an additional option to boost revenue by appealing to the new audience of dog-owning New Yorkers and their dogs.

    I loved this aricle about New York Restaurant alllowance of dogs and the health concerns that might affect the people if they pass the law. Besides being entertaining this artivle was also very informative of New Yorkers problems and health concerns.

  • elijahe-lam
    11/03/2015 - 03:50 p.m.

    I would choose that having dogs in restaurant is a good idea, and will help restaurants make more money by serving dogs.

  • billiem-1-bar
    11/03/2015 - 07:49 p.m.

    This new law helps restaurants because it attracts a new group of people who have previously chosen to not eat at restaurants because they have their dogs with them. I found this article interesting because people will get to bring their dogs in instead of leaving them outside or at home and it will make the dogs happy.

  • arellanoj-rob
    11/04/2015 - 09:48 a.m.

    It could help restaurants by getting more customers? Lots of dog owners don't go to some resturants because dogs aren't allowed inside. Plus, many people that support the idea might contribute and visit the restaurants.

  • adamsp-rob
    11/04/2015 - 09:49 a.m.

    In a positive way some people might think the restaurant cares for dogs and is loving. On the other hand people think dogs are disgusting and that they give off diseases and don't need to be around food. In my opinion I really love dogs but I would not want dogs around my food to the fact that they beg alot and they can knock things over.

  • davisn-rob
    11/04/2015 - 09:50 a.m.

    I thank that it is right to let your dog in because that get depressed when they are home alone if people can bring their dogs in to restaurants they will not be depressed and they will be more active.

  • jhonaep-wes
    11/04/2015 - 12:19 p.m.

    I think this artical is cool , I think dogs should be allowed in places because they like to explore.

  • tylerl-day
    11/04/2015 - 12:55 p.m.

    This would be a pretty cool thing to happen. Going out to eat and meeting dogs would be nice. My only concern is that there is absolutely no way I could bring my dog out to eat. He is a German Shepherd that is very hyper and protective. Being around a large crowd would be terrible for him. He already does not like to allow people he doesn't know near me. For example, I take my dog hiking all the time and one time I stopped to talk to some other hikers. Jase, my dog, did fine at first but as soon as one of the hikers looked him in the eye, he instantly became protective. My concern would be if he ever did anything to someone that I would have to put him down. Therefore, there is no way I would ever risk taking him to a public restaurant.

  • tylers-day
    11/04/2015 - 04:22 p.m.

    This is very interesting. I think it's weird though to have dogs on restaurants. All I can think about is how bad it could be. Dogs could end up eating other people's food or drool all over people's food.

  • briannec-ste
    11/04/2015 - 06:33 p.m.

    I personally think it is a great idea for some restaurants to allow dogs to eat with some of the people. I do however understand why the health officials don't like the idea, most dogs are unsanitary and could cause health problems, some people feel lonely without their dogs.

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