Doggie Dining Companions on Restaurant Patios Could Become Legal in New York City

Woman Taking Dog For Walk On City Street

A new bill proposed in New York State could let dining out go to the dogs.

Where restaurants often used to ban pups from patios, today they’re embracing them — as dog owners may be good for business. Now legislators in Albany have introduced a new bill that would set requirements for restaurants to allow dogs on their patios.

Dogs would need to be kept on leashes, and restaurant staff would not be allowed to play with dogs.

Restaurant owners would also have to provide a separate patio entrance for dog owners and their pets, and they won’t be allowed in outdoor areas where food is prepared. However, lawmakers do agree that the pets don’t actually pose a health hazard in such outdoor spaces.

So far, the State Senate has approved the bill by 60-0, so it now goes to the State Assembly for review. The bill’s sponsors are confident that it will pass.

The law could mean more business for restaurants in New York City and throughout the state.

In one study of 439 diners, Study Hall Research in Tampa, FL, and FSR Magazine found that 43% of diners between the ages of 25 and 34 would spend more money on drinks if they were ordering from outdoor patio bars.

If patrons are allowed to bring their dog with them while they drink and dine, then it could bring businesses even more cash during the summer months.

Even dogs get to drink on patios, too, under the proposed bill — so long as they follow a one dog per water dish rule.

Some of the state’s cat owners, meanwhile, have said that the bill discriminates against them. Critics from Eater.com and the Albany Times Union blog have said that the law leaves out feline owners, even thought they don’t usually take their pets for walks like most dog owners do.

4Many dog owners may be surprised that dogs aren’t already permitted on patios by law, as many businesses do allow doggie diners. However, the law would potentially make New York the second state, after California, to formally allow dogs in the outdoor seating areas of restaurants.