New York City Health Officials Accused of Trying to Keep Dogs Away From Restaurants, Despite Pet-Friendly Legislation

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New York City Health Officials Accused of Trying to Keep Dogs Away From Restaurants, Despite Pet-Friendly Legislation

Pet owners are accusing the health department of making it difficult for restaurants to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas

Officials with the New York City Health Department are accused of trying to enact regulations that would make it difficult for dogs to join their owners in restaurants’ outdoor dining areas, a bill that easily passed through the New York legislature last summer.

“I think this is a win for dogs, because they don’t have to sit at home without their owners,” Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal said at the time.  

However, city pet owners are now saying that the Health Department is doing its best to discourage a dog-friendly dining atmosphere by introducing cumbersome guidelines for restaurants. Although the bill was signed into law by Governor Cuomo in October, local health departments can set their own regulations for the pet-friendly arrangements. Rosenthal called the health department’s new guidelines “onerous.”

Among the suggested regulations, restaurants would be required to build physical barriers between dining areas and the sidewalk, and restaurant staff would be required to make sure that dogs are wearing the appropriate license tags before letting them join their owners. Dogs would also not be allowed to touch any dining surfaces, or interfere with the 36-inch aisle space between tables.

The public has until January 26 to provide public comments on the proposed regulations. 

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