Local News

Wake attorney: Dogs OK on restaurant patios

Posted August 24, 2009

Wake County restaurants can continue to allow dogs in outside seating areas, County Attorney Scott Warren said Monday.

Warren took a look at the state statues for food service establishments after media reports implied that state law bans the practice.

“As written, it’s my opinion that the primary intent (of the rule) is to keep animals out of kitchen areas where food is prepared, and out of pantry areas where food is stored,” Warren said.  “And so, unless protected by some federal law, the restaurant decides for itself whether or not to allow dogs on patio areas.”

County health inspectors will be informed of the opinion and asked to brief restaurant owners, County Manager David Cooke said.

“Sometimes the rules can be vague,” Cooke said. “That’s when local governments have an opportunity to establish a policy that fits the community and still protects the public's health.”


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  • clover1019 Aug 25, 2009

    I love bring my dog along with me to eat while on the patio...as long as the weather is nice outside and she has some water. I agree with you PlanetX! If you dont like eating next to my dog then eat inside or go somewhere else!

  • wwyoud Aug 25, 2009

    Having a dog on the patio is no less hygenic than having people wear shoes, provided both stay off the furniture. If you truly have issues with cleanliness, consider all the other possibilities and then stay home; wait staff are trained in how to keep their hands clean, whether they pet a dog or clean a toilet before serving you. A good dog owner will walk their animal prior to going to the restaurant, so certain issues aren't a problem. For the rare mishaps - are you really going to stop dining somewhere because a patron once did something disgusting?? Again, you might as well stay home.

  • HtheQueen Aug 25, 2009

    I love seeing dogs out at restaurants. I've never had a bad experience and I think it is really nice that restaurants have the option to allow it! Hurray for dogs on patios :)

  • bill0 Aug 25, 2009

    This is a really easy one as far as I am concerned. It is hard to argue against more choices for consumers.

    If a place lets dogs on the patio, it will be abundantly obvious. If you walk by a restaurant with a patio full of dogs and you don't want to eat next to a dog, then just keep on walking. It isn't like there are a shortage of places to eat in this city. On the flip side, if you are a dog lover and want you precious mutt by you at all times, go be a patron at the dog friendly joint. They are serving a niche market and will only stay open as long as they can make money doing it.

  • elfgir1 Aug 25, 2009

    I'm with Smokin. I'm just happy that business owners will be given a choice in the matter. Personally, I'm all for well behaved dogs being allowed on restaurant patios, but I also respect the opinions of those who do not wish to have dogs around while they are eating. I think, though, if you're dining al fresco, you should be more worried about the flies on your food than the dogs on the ground. ;)

    And the mosquitos...

    And the birds hopping from table to table...

    I'll stop now before people start to think that I dislike the out-of-doors.

  • PlanetX Aug 25, 2009

    "I prefer dogs to screaming kids! " -- afairlane500

    AMEN. I would much rather dine outside with someone's dog than someone's screaming brat. Most dog owners are far more responsible about keeping their dogs in check than the majority of parents are about keeping their kids under control. Bring on the dawgs!!! =)(and yes, I have kids)

  • EverythingTicksMeOff Aug 25, 2009

    This article didn't provide the entire statement by the attorney but what was published did not address the clause that the Health Inspectors say mandated that dogs not be allowed outside at restaurants. It would have been interesting to hear what he had to say about that specific clause. And I don't mind having well-behaved dogs around at a restaurant as long as basic hygiene is followed. One has to wonder what the appropriate response to a dog defecating would be. You can't evacuate to wash the place down. If it can happen at Westminster or Crufts (it did!) it can happen at restaurants.

  • ncsudan Aug 25, 2009

    This is a good thing, IMO. Just as unruly people can/should be asked to leave a restaurant, so can unruly dogs. I have not once seen a misbehaving pet in Raleigh on a patio, children, not so however.

  • afairlane500 Aug 25, 2009

    I prefer dogs to screaming kids! It really is good this is being allowed, many other cities do this with no problem.

  • Smokin Aug 25, 2009

    Glad to see both sides posting. The point is that there will be a CHOICE and the owner of the restaurant and his patrons are the ones who will make it, not a bureaucrat with no interest other than asserting their "power".