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 in New York. That's because a new state law allows restaurants to open outdoor dining areas to them.

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

Dog lovers and many restaurant owners in New York support the idea. They note that pooches must be leashed and restaurants could choose to keep them out of outdoor eating areas. While health officials shared their 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 pleased.

"I think this speaks volumes to where we are as a society. Most people with dogs view them as members of the family," said Kim Wolf. Kim is a New York City dog owner. 

Kim works for an organization that helps people in poor neighborhoods care for their animals.

Restaurant owner Michael O'Neal said he hopes the law will settle any uncertainty about bringing dogs to his Boat Basin Cafe. The cafe is 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 law this spring. They said they were "deeply concerned" about biting and cleanliness. They were also concerned about bringing "additional public health risks into food service establishments where none need exist."

But the association's members will follow the law. That's according to Executive Director Linda Wagner.

As a Manhattan dog owner, Evelien Kong is excited 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 while walking her 8-year-old Shih Tzu, Gracie. "There has to be a healthy, mutual respect for both sides."

The bill's sponsor is Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan. She 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."

A law meant 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. He noted that feral felines threaten local wildlife such as birds.

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

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

Cuomo has neither. 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 (145)
  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    11/02/2015 - 06:24 p.m.

    This new law may help restaurants gain more business, but it also may cause them to gain business. There will definitely be those who are in love with the idea of taking their dogs to dinner with them or to grab lunch during a walk in the park with them. There will also be those who are repulsed by the idea of animals being around them while going out to eat.

  • josiec-1-bar
    11/02/2015 - 07:13 p.m.

    This law will help resturants becasuse so many people have dogs and would want to bring them with them while dining so it is a positive outcome for the restaurant and the owner of the dog and according to the article, " Overall, 30 percent of people have a dog." This means that many dog owners will bring business to the restaurants. My opinion is that many people will start to go to dog dining resturants because they have a companion with them while they dine.

  • katherinec-3-bar
    11/02/2015 - 09:13 p.m.

    This new law will help restaurants by attracting dog owners and allowing them to eat together. In paragraph 4 Cuomo says that it will help the restaurants revenue by reaching dog owning New Yorkers to dine with their furry friends. I found this article surprising because in our town we already are allowed to dine with our dogs.

  • william1108-yyca
    11/02/2015 - 09:22 p.m.

    WOW! I can't believe that in New York they allow pets inn diners. I wish in California that we could do it. Maybe next time I will actually think if I want to bring a pet into a diner.

  • billyz-rob
    11/03/2015 - 09:48 a.m.

    people dogs is like there best friend so that why they want to eat with them.

  • davisc-rob
    11/03/2015 - 09:51 a.m.

    More people wil come into restuants more because theey an bring their dog . Most dont stay and sit in an restuant because they have to rush home to fed their dogs.dog lovers will enjoy having to take their dogs with them.

  • joshuac1-tra
    11/03/2015 - 10:07 a.m.

    It makes more people want to come because lots of people have dogs.

    • kyndald-ter
      11/19/2015 - 02:43 p.m.

      It may also scare away costumers.

  • alisynnm-tra
    11/03/2015 - 10:08 a.m.

    omg! THATS AWSOME IT CAN BE LIKE LADY AND THE TRAMP ;) MAYBE THEY CAN DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT FOR KITTY CATS.

    • natalieg-mcd
      11/16/2015 - 04:24 p.m.

      kittys could scrathc ppl soooooo well yeah

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