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Jun 3, 2008 06:24 AM

Dogs in NYC Restaurants [split from Outer Boroughs]

(Note: This thread was split from an Outer Boroughs thread at: -- The Chowhound Team).

NYC Health Department law strictly prohibits any pet on a licensed food service establishment.

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    1. re: maggiepc

      quick google search, from this (rather old) NYT story:

      "Technically, outdoor cafes where no cooking is taking place are the sole preserve for dining a la dog in New York City, said Sandy Mullen, a spokeswoman for the city's Health Department."

      We've also had success bringing the pooch to L & B Spumoni Gardens, FWIW.

      1. re: scooter

        Great article--too bad that it is ten years old. Thanks again, Scooter. I was too lazy to search myself. I just decided to appeal to Chowhounds.

      2. re: maggiepc

        Service animals only I would think. And besides the health concerns, I'd worry about liability too.
        Here's another article from the Times with a different slant

        1. re: coll

          That article is about people seeking to bring their dogs INSIDE restaurants (and other places) with the claim that they are "emotional service animals." It says nothing about dogs in outdoor cafes.

          1. re: scooter

            I think that's the problem, it says they're banned from food establishments so I myself would interpret that to be the entire property, inside and out.
            I'm going to ask the next health inspector I see actually.

            I looked up the exact law since I was curious

            ยง81.25 Food service establishments and non-retail food processing establishments;
            animals prohibited.
            No live animal shall be kept, housed or permitted to enter into or remain in any food
            service establishment or non-retail food processing establishment. This section shall not
            apply to edible fish, crustacea, shellfish, fish in aquariums, seeing-eye dogs accompanying
            sightless persons, hearing or service dogs accompanying and assisting disabled persons,
            or patrol dogs accompanying police officers.

            1. re: coll

              Yeah, that's a good question about whether the outside seating qualifies as being part of the food establishment. Personally, I have no problem if people want to eat with their dogs in the outside section of a restaurant provided that they're mindful of other people. The other day, I was walking by a place where this woman let her dog run around on top of the table. I think that's a bit gross.

        2. re: maggiepc

          shake shack without the doggies milling about wouldn't be half as much fun.

        3. Is it just me or does the service animal exception written into the law create a big, gaping hole in the logic supporting this law? I'll admit that I am merely assuming the logic underlying this law is that animals may be a source of food-bourne illness. If this is the rationale, a service animal would be just a likely a source of contamination.

          Let me be clear, I am NOT advocating that service animals should also be banned. Quite the opposite, my gut feeling is that the law in an over reaction based on a misunderstanding of the cleanliness of animals and how food-bourne illness spread.

          9 Replies
          1. re: kmcarr

            I think one problem is they don't have rest rooms for dogs, and their owners don't always clean up after them. Not everyone, but it happens enough. I've seen it first hand.

            1. re: coll

              yeah but that problem would be easily avoided if they allowed small dogs sitting in carrier bags...

              1. re: Nehna

                Does that mean I should be able to bring my pet cat, hamster, iguana, spider, monkey or rat to dinner as long as it's in a carrier bag? If so, why not my python, parrot, armadillo or pot-bellied pig? Where do we draw the line?

                They're PETS, people. Leave them at home. They have no business in restaurants. Poor little Poopsiekins will be just fine for the two hours you're gone to dinner. Geez.

                1. re: invinotheresverde

                  This is coming from someone who is Mama to four pets of her own (and always begging her husband for more), so I'm surely no animal hater of any sort. Just thought I'd clarify.

                  1. re: invinotheresverde

                    Well said. Also an animal lover who sees no need for animals at restaurants. How about my sister in laws pet rat?

                    1. re: lgphil

                      I'd be happy to eat with all of the animals mentioned above. Well, not the spider.

                    2. re: invinotheresverde

                      You're missing my point -- which was that, if the problem is with the ability of the dog to relieve themselves and the risk of accident, that can easily be avoided with the animal being in a bag. Personally, my opinion is that there is nothing whatsoever wrong with having an animal in the outdoor area of a restaurant. Most people dont take cats, hamsters, iguanas, spiders, monkeys, rats, pythons, parrots, armadillios or even pot-bellied pigs out for walks several times a day---unlike DOGS. Many of us who walk our dogs like to stop and have a bite to eat while enjoying nice weather.

                      1. re: Nehna

                        Just FYI - Service dogs are trained to go only on command and when and where their handler tells them. I think that you will find that accidents are very rare with these dogs.

                2. re: kmcarr

                  I'm guessing service animals, since they're extremely well trained, would be less likely to stray (thus spreading germs) or act out (endangering customers).

                  But the truth is, they just accept service animals because they have to under anti-discrimination laws, which trump local health regulations.

                3. I am a certified Therapy Dog and let me give you the scoop. The jfoods try to take me when they can to outdoor restos in the summer so i can hang out under the table and just chill. Scraps are appreciated.

                  The places in NY make me sit in the car watching from afar, while some places in CT let me hang with the 'rents.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: jfood

                    There are definitely places in Manhattan where you can take your dog - there's a pretty good thread on the Manhattan board about it.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      thanks double-m but i'd rather sit on the terrace and let jfood feed me here. it ain;t worth the hassel and there are always people who do not understand that i'm just there as company and for training. i do not even use a cell phone since the same people get all riled up about that silliness as well.

                      1. re: jfood

                        Yeah, jfood, "Marge's" hound is a certified therapy dog too....and "Marge" loathes self-absorbed narcissistic humans who must engage in inane telephone conversations while dining in a public the same people who get riled up by cell phone use are not the same people who dislike dogs....

                        1. re: Marge

                          please remembe marge that

                          "self-absorbed narcissistic humans who must engage in inane telephone conversations while dining in a public restaurant"

                          can also be

                          self-absorbed narcissistic humans who must engage in inane TABLE conversations while dining in a public restaurant.

                          jfood lets people have these conversation at surrounding tables without bothering them and he expects the same respect from them so long as neither are too loud as to disturb the other

                          1. re: jfood

                            yes, but with a cell phone, one can walk outside to have their conversation. and then you really need not disturb anyone :) Personally to me, it depends on the setting. In a high end / elegant restaurant, I think it's really inappropriate to be on a cell phone. I also think it's inappropriate to be having loud, annoying, obtrusive conversation in such restaurants. When I go out to a really nice, expensive meal, I'd rather not be bothered by any of this, and focus on the company I am with. Which I think is a courtesy all the patrons in the restaurant deserve.

                  2. doggies are permitted to be outside on patios and decks in Florida so long as the dog doesn't have to go through the restaurant to get to the outside - however, it is permitted as long as there are no complaints from other customers.

                    1. I know I am probably going to be flamed royally for this, but I hate dogs ever since I was mauled by one at the age of 5, leaving my leg with scars that are not nearly as deep at the emotional ones. I could never and would never eat with a dog in the room. EVER.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: gryphonskeeper

                        im down with that. why are we held captive by the tyranny of the dog owner? their animals, for crying out loud. you cant leave them home for two hours while you eat with other humans? if you must eat with them, order take out and let them stare at you in the comfort of your own home.

                        1. re: hyde

                          "held captive by the tyranny of the dog owner?" Huh? Why is it when someone has a difference of opinion the normal reaction is so negative. people refer to it as rude or now it's been eevated to tyranny. hyperbole accepted.

                          But back to the subject of well mannered dogs in restaurants (the mis-mannered dogs should suffer the same fate as the mis-mannered humans, there's the door).

                          There are many things that occur in restaurants that bother some and others feel are perfectly acceptable. Frankly jfood would rather sit next to a well manner pooch than a drunken slob. And then there are the cell phone police that feel it's perfectly acceptable to have a raucous conversation about their sexcapades while wanting jfood evicted for hving a quiet good night sweetie conversation with mrs jfood while traveling. Jfood can go on and on about things that bother him and things he does that bother others in a restaurant.

                          But given the behavior of many jfood has seen in restaurants, these boars would be better behaved as a dog.

                          1. re: jfood

                            ok. possibly overstated. but in my experience most dog owners believe that THEIR dogs are well behaved. its always the other dog, the kids were teasing them, you made a threatening movement, etc. i grew up with dogs, but they lived outside and were never fed human food, they seemed perfectly happy. i just dont think they need to be in restaurants.

                            1. re: hyde

                              that's the ticket.

                              like parents who think their kids running around is cute, and the drunk baffoon who thinks that loud joke was funny and the cell phone police who think someone is being rude because they cannot hear both ends of their conversation, some dog owners believe Fido sniffing someone's you know what at the next table is OK, none of these are OK.

                              Manners are manners and mis-behaved patrons, both 2 and 4 legged, should be handled as such.

                        2. re: gryphonskeeper

                          While I feel for you and that's a terrible thing to hear....surely restaurants arent the only place you are confronted with your fear of dogs. So banning dogs from patios due to this wouldnt make any more sense really than banning dogs from all public areas. If it were me---and granted, I was not mauled by a dog at 5 though I did have a horrible fright when scratched by a doberman at age 7 or so that left me wary of, though not hating mind you, large dogs---I would want to confront the fear. Dogs, well behaved friendly ones, are a wonderful part of many peoples' lives. My own 7 lb pomeranian has never come close to biting anyone (human or dog) in the 4 years she's been alive. And she actually turned my husband, who was from childhood afraid of dogs, into a die hard small dog lover :)