Outdoor dining season is just around the corner and now dog owners won’t have to worry about leaving their four-legged companion at home when they grab brunch with friends.
The city’s Health Department finalized on Tuesday rules for the Dining with Dogs law that was passed by the state Legislature last year.
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Under the law, restaurants are authorized to allow dogs in certain defined outdoor dining areas and cities are allowed to establish and enforce the rules.
“The health and safety of every New Yorker is our priority,” said Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett. “These new rules ensure that restaurant patrons can bring their dogs to outdoor areas, while also keeping other diners protected. The new regulations will be applied fairly and enforced with the public’s health in mind.”
According to the New York Daily News, supporters of the law complained that the initial proposed rules — which required restaurants to check a dog’s paperwork — would only allow a few restaurants to participate.
Now under the new rules — which go into effect in 30 days — restaurants that decide to allow pet dogs in their outdoor areas must post a sign that alerts customers that dogs must be licensed and vaccinated against rabies — a requirement for all city dogs.
However, the restaurants will not be required to verify that a dog has its paperwork in order.
When asked what would happen if a dog were to attack either another dog or customer and who would be held responsible, a Health Department spokesperson told Metro that the situation would be investigated as any other dog bite incident.
The restaurants participating in Dining with Dogs will also be required to use barriers or other methods to limit the contact between dogs in the outdoor dining area, and people and other dogs who are passing by on adjacent sidewalks.
The Health Department will also issue additional directions on effective policies for separating dogs who are with diners from those passing by.
This new set of rules does not change the already existing requirement in which restaurants must accommodate service dogs.
“I’m so pleased that the city Department of Health threw dog lovers a bone,” said Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal, who sponsored the legislation. “These proposed regulations are common-sense measures designed to protect the public health while allowing New Yorkers to dine with their dogs. With the warm weather upon us, I am certain New Yorkers will be thrilled.”