Under current California law, the only live animals allowed in eateries include police dogs, animals used in decoration — such as aquariums — animals used as consumption and service animals for disabled patrons.
But that soon could change.
Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada’s (D-Davis) bill, which would allow pet dogs in restaurants’ outdoor areas, is heading to the California Senate. The bill was approved by the State Assembly on May 8. Los Angeles and Santa Barbara have already passed ordinances allowing the presence of dogs on restaurants patios.
"Despite the best efforts of city and county public health departments to balance the desire of restaurant and dog owners with the need to preserve public health, state law currently preempts any effort they make to accommodate dogs on dining patios,” Yamada said in a statement. “AB 1965 remedies this by allowing willing businesses to accommodate customers and their dogs while still providing local governments the option to determine if additional standards are necessary for their communities.”
Supporters of the bill say that allowing dogs in outdoor spaces will allow restaurant owners to expand their clientele and give customers a more broad selection of restaurants.
Critics cite concerns for allergy and asthma sufferers, whose conditions may be exacerbated by the presence of a dog in a dining establishment. In addition, they worry that some dog owners will not clean up after their pets, if they were to relieve themselves in or near the restaurant patio.
The bill would not mandate that restaurant allow dogs on patios, but would leave the option open for establishments to decide on their own. The practice is already occurring in numerous cities throughout the state. The bill would make it legal unless prohibited by local ordinance.
Will the permission to bring dogs to eateries be beneficial to restaurants in Los Angeles? Will other customers be disturbed by the presence of dogs in restaurants?
Mariko Yamada, (D) California Assemblymember for the 4th District, including parts of the counties of Napa, Lake, Sonoma, Yolo and more; Author of AB 1965