dining with pooch
Photo by Jeffrey Wade.

The state passed a law last year allowing people to eat with their pets at outdoor cafes in the city. But the city’s Department of Health has issued proposed rules that could effectively nullify the law, says state assembly member Linda Rosenthal, who sponsored the law and spoke at a hearing about the rules on Tuesday. Rosenthal’s press release noted that she is “Rabid Over Proposed Regs that will Neuter Dining with Dogs Law.” Really, it did. So don’t blame the puns on us.

Among other requirements, the city wants food establishments to certify that dogs they allow into outdoor cafes have been vaccinated and registered with the city. But Rosenthal says only 20% of dog owners comply with these rules, and asking untrained staff to check dog tags “is foolhardy.”

“DOHMH has proposed that untrained food service establishment staff check the validity of rabies vaccination tags and licenses. Consider a popular restaurant during peak weekend brunch or lunch hours on a mild spring afternoon. The host or hostess is working to seat dozens of patrons, both in and outdoors, and in addition to triaging all manner of patrons’ reasonable and unreasonable requests, will now also be required to get down on hands and knees to check licenses and vaccination tags. This is simply ridiculous.”

ABSURDITY, NEWS | 39 comments | permalink
    1. AnimalLover says:

      I love all animals. However, allowing them to “dine” at outdoor cafes is ludicrous. The city is too crowded with people never mind dogs. Dogs scare children, they urinate and deficate everywhere and their fur ends up everywhere. With all due respect, please keep your dogs at home.

      • S. Louie says:

        I love children..but really allowing them to “dine” at cafes (indoors/outdoors) are extremely scary to people in general. They don’t wash their hands..and are always reaching over to strangers with their booger fingers, not covering their mouths when they cough or sneeze… spreading actual human to human viruses (while dogs dont spread human diseases) With all due respect..please keep your ACTUAL disease spreading human home..thank you.

        – The rest of us rational educated thinkers.

        • Lynn K. says:

          Love your answer!

        • Nathan says:

          Your dog is not your child.

          That said, I agree that it also isn’t always appropriate to bring children to restaurants. It depends on the restaurant, the atmosphere, and the time. And by and large parents are pretty good about this.

          Dog owners are also generally pretty good about not brining them where they’re totally inappropriate. Let’s not change that.

          • Brandon says:

            “in general” I’d agree. The problem, as with most things, is the small percentage who don’t know or care what’s appropriate. The dog owners who have their dogs off leash in Central Park on a crowded afternoon, the ones who allow their hairy dogs to rub against clothes on racks in stores, the ones who think that when their large dog’s bark frightens a small child the child needs the reprimand. I would expect this small percentage of dog owners to also not follow the rules for having dogs in outdoor cafes. They will be a nuisance.

    2. Jason says:

      Isn’t the bigger problem that 80% of the dogs roaming the streets are unregistered and/or are not vaccinated? I know it’s “man’s best friend”, but they are still animals, susceptible to disease particularly since their bare paws are walking all over who knows what on our streets. If they are going to dine with people now, perhaps this is a pretty smart regulation???

    3. Mark says:

      Donald Trump is afraid of Megyn Kelly.
      UWSers are afraid of dogs.

      Grow a pair, people.

      • Upper West Side Wally says:

        Go stand anywhere on the UWS on a balmy summer day and take a deep breath, check out any planter, any front door, or take a walk in RSP and take that deep breath again… .
        Has nothing to do with fear, or ‘growing a pair’ (which deserves a “wow!” all by itself).

    4. Sean says:

      Every dog has its’ day.

    5. Nathan says:

      How about you just leave your dog at home unless you have a service dog. These aren’t children and they don’t need to accompany you at all times.

    6. Kenneth says:

      I love dogs but I don’t want your dog sitting next to me in a restaurant cafe nor do I want your dog’s butt in a chair that I will next sit in.

    7. Eric says:

      If I am being seated in a restaurant and the occupant getting up from the table had sat naked in that chair, I ain’t sittin’ there.

      That goes double for cocker spaniels.

    8. Frank says:

      Dogs do not belong where people eat. That includes “therapy” dogs (or other creatures — thank you, The New Yorker) in vests from Amazon or with expensive bogus credentials.

    9. UWSer says:

      Under the law allowing dogs in outdoor cafes they are NOT allowed to sit on the furniture. The dog, owner and restaurant pictured are in violation.

    10. Mark says:

      Most of these responses show a startling lack of sophistication. Travel to almost anywhere in western Europe and you will see dogs in restaurants. No data suggest that this causes any illness or injury to other patrons or workers.
      I’ve never seen a dog yakking on a cell phone, texting, or drinking too much alcohol in a restaurant. I’d prefer to sit next to most dogs than most obnoxious people.

    11. Big Earl says:

      Reading some of these comments from holier-than-thau dog lovers are funnier than a Judd Apatow movie. I’ve owned dogs all my life, about five decades, and not once did I ever think, hey geez wouldn’t it be great to bring Fido along with me to eat at a restaurant/cafe. Who needs to do that? What purpose does it serve? If it’s because you feel that you don’t spend enough time with your pooch, maybe take them to Central Park for a bit.

      • Mark says:

        So because it doesn’t appeal to you it shouldn’t appeal to anyone. Spoken like a true intellectual.

    12. Scott says:

      That picture needs a caption. How about “it isn’t you, it’s me. I need more space.”

    13. PGG says:

      To all of you who are anti dog in OUTDOOR area of restaurants:

      1. Everything on the bottom of dogs paws is also on the bottom of your shoes.

      2. Most children pick their noses and put their pickings anywhere they can, including tables.

      3. Children take gum out of their mouths and often stick it on our under the table or chairs.

      4. On the rarest of occasions do illnesses of dogs pass to humans, where our colds, flus, TB, and so many other diseases amongst humans are pass to other humans.

      So I have a great idea. If you have a problem with dogs sharing your OUTDOOR AIR, why don’t YOU stay home and keep your children with you!

      • Anon says:

        Given that only 20% of dog owners comply with the rules about vaccination and registration of dogs who would we expect them to comply with rules about where their dogs can and cannot be in an outdoor cafe?

    14. Mike says:

      We should include laws to outlaw dogs from walking around without shoes and from sticking their noses up another dog’s ass.

      That’s when we should welcome dogs into restaurants.

    15. Margaret Ryan says:

      I just love these comments. Also, I am free not to eat where dogs eat, or to ask to be seated elsewhere if a dog I object to is seated near me. Hilarious, old NYer style comments here, folks! Keep it up.

      • UWSer says:

        you wouldn’t know if a dog had recently sat in the seat your being offered. it could be flee and tick infested. true the same could be said about using a seat after a few UWS residents used it.

        • Mark says:

          My dog has a better command of grammar, sentence structure, and spelling. I’d worry less about “flees” and more about learning English.

    16. KSG says:

      I see the rational with the DOE, sorry it makes sense to me. I had to eat 2 feet away from a miniature doberman pinscher sitting on the chair beside me looking at my dinner plate that arrived full of chicken. It made for an unnerving dinner experience that I had to fork over $40. for.
      Sorry pet lovers it doesn’t work well well for those of us who want to go out and relax.

    17. Cato says:

      I think the best solution is to allow animals, but prohibit people, in restaurants.

    18. K says:

      I actually think the children and dog parallel is pretty fair. I am not one of those dog owners who thinks my dog is my child — that’s not it. But I don’t particularly enjoy being around children when I’m eating out any more than others enjoy eating around dogs. And it’s dumb to have waitstaff checking dog vaccinations as it’s dumb to expect them to check kid vaccinations (child, not goat. or goat…). I don’t think dogs should be allowed on chairs, however. Even though to me there’s not much difference, there is SOME difference, and we have to draw a line somewhere. I just hope people follow the rules and keep control of their dogs (and children) so as not to interfere with the experience of others.

    19. bdog says:

      I agree fully. Dogs should have the same rights as people. Come on dog lovers let’s unite!
      I also want poop whenever I want wherever I want in the street. I promise, I will pick it up – well smothered all over the sidewalk for everyone to enjoy.

      • karen roush says:

        Get over it. Dogs are companions. Look at Europe, they dine everywhere there with owners, including inside. They are better behaved than most children.

    20. Andrew says:

      I just love these comments! I’m far from home on a business trip and it makes me so happy to be able to dial up the West Side Rag and immerse myself in the virtual version of the local coffeehouse.
      You anti-dog people are all wrong btw. I let strange dogs lick my face if they want but I’d call the police in 2 seconds on any of you humans if you tried that.

    21. LL says:

      I’m going to vote with my two feet. I just won’t eat at any restaurants with dogs.