In recent weeks and months, we've brought you plenty of stories regarding changing laws that allow dogs to accompany their pet parents to restaurants, including New York City’s outdoor restaurant ruling in July, and details of the Napa Valley wineries that allow pups. Slowly but surely, the world is becoming more accepting of our relationships with our dogs, and allowing them to join us in a variety of activities. Today, we'd like to share another piece of good news with you. The Michigan Senate has now passed a bill that will allow dogs to relax on restaurant patios, meaning that al fresco diners can share their dog's company.
Senator Margaret O'Brien, a dog lover herself who proposed the bill, explained to M Live that her constituents enjoyed the freedom of traveling out and about with their dogs, and while dog-friendly hotels and parks were welcomed, they just didn't go far enough: "It was getting frustrating because they didn't want to eat at McDonald's, they didn't want to do takeout and eat in the hotel, they wanted to be able to go outside, enjoy the beauty and have their pet there."
While the law currently bans dogs from all restaurants, both inside and out, Senate Bill 727 would allow dogs on patios – with a few rules in place, of course. For example, any area in which dogs are present must be kept free from hair and regularly disinfected, ensuring that the risk of infectious diseases is kept to a minimum. Dogs must also be accompanied by a person aged over 18 years, to make sure that they're looked after, and their behavior is monitored.
"We've got all the rules in place so a community can ban it if they don’t want it. A restaurant does not have to do it, but if a restaurant chooses to do it we already have a list of rules they will follow to protect everyone’s health and safety," said O’Brien. Indeed, while the new bill allows communities and restaurants to participate, it doesn't force them to.
The bill will now pass to the House of Representatives for consideration.