The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S4327), sponsored by Senator Kemp Hannon (R, Nassau), that would change the state health law to allow food service establishments to offer their customers the ability to bring their pet dogs into outdoor dining areas.
Senator Hannon, Chair of the Health Committee, said, “With a large percentage of New Yorkers being dog owners, many restaurants would like to accommodate their guests and permit canine companions to join them. However, the current health code prohibits restaurants that wish to make such accommodations from doing so or they will face non-issuance, suspension, or forfeiture of their license if they do allow dogs in outdoor dining areas.”
This measure would permit customers to bring their pet dogs into outdoor dining areas of restaurants that wish to provide this service, as long as the restaurant can ensure that there will be no contamination of food and tainted utensils or equipment.
According to a 2013 study, when proper sanitation measures and practices are in place, the overall public health risk from pet dogs in outdoor dining areas is very low. Similar legislation was successfully signed into California law last year.
“This legislation will allow restaurant owners the option to permit pet dogs in outdoor dining areas,” said Hannon. “It will benefit both owners and patrons, boosting revenue, and ensure safety standards are followed.”
The bill has been sent to the Assembly.