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New Bill Would Make Dining With Dogs Legal In California

May 9, 2014

You may love bringing your dog to brunch, but if you’re going to a restaurant, you’re actually breaking the law. A new bill in the California Legislature would change that.
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It’s becomes common to see dogs sitting next to their owners on restaurant patios. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, dining with a dog that is not a service animal is actually against California law.

You can hardly go to brunch these days without seeing a pooch staring back at you over your morning coffee. It’s become so common for people to bring along their pets while dining on restaurant patios that several counties have passed guidelines on the practice. California state law actually prohibits dogs in restaurant facilities. But, since enforcement is left to the counties, the state law is largely ignored.

A new bill in the legislature would officially allow local governments to create policies governing dogs in restaurants. Judie Mancuso is with the animal rights group Social Compassion in Legislation, which is advocating for the bill. She says the measure will give restaurants legal protection

Mancuso: “It’s going to be totally up to the restaurant whether they want to do this or not. There’s not mandated. It just makes it permissible for the folks that want to participate.” 

The state law would include some restrictions. Employees would not be allowed to touch dogs and the animals would be required to use a separate patio entrance. The California Restaurant Association supports the bill.

The bill was approved by the Assembly on May 8th. It now heads to the Senate.