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Daily Court Reporter - News Dog-patio sightings on rise as new law goes into effect at end of month


Dog-patio sightings on rise as new law goes into effect at end of month

KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

(Columbus) Visit any trendy patio bar or restaurant around Columbus and it's likely a dog or two will be lying at his master's feet, while the humans of the pack enjoy a favorite drink or sandwich al fresco.

Although the much lauded law allowing a food service operation or retail food establishment to allow a person to bring a dog in an outdoor dining area of the establishment or operation doesn't go into effect until the end of the month, it has become commonplace to see canine companions hanging out on dining patios.

BrewDog, the Scottish craft beer company that anchored its first U.S. brewery here in recent years, not surprisingly encourages its patrons to include the pooch at its brewpub and two taproom locations.

House Bill 263 cleared the Ohio Senate in June and Gov. John Kasich signed it the following month.

Two years in the making, HB 263 arose from the bill's sponsor hearing from constituents who discovered it was illegal for them to bring their dogs to local restaurant patios despite having done so previously.

Under current law, dogs are prohibited in outdoor dining areas under rules by the directors of Agriculture and Health departments that generally prohibit live animals on the premises of a retail food establishment or food service operation.

A retail food establishment, such as grocery stores and gas stations, is defined specifically as an establishment that receives a majority of its revenue from sales of prepackaged food items or multiple servings of food products.

Such establishments are licensed to operate by a local board of health with oversight by the ag director.

Food service operations are restaurants, cafeterias and schools, which receive a majority of revenue from sales of food that is prepared and served in individual portions.

The state health director oversees the local health board in its licensing of such enterprises.

The new law, effective Oct. 29, generally authorizes a retail food establishment or food service operation to allow a person to bring a dog in an outdoor dining area and calls on the directors of state agriculture and health departments to amend state rules that generally prohibit animals in retail food establishments or food service operations to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas.

Any establishment that wishes to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas, must abide by the following.

Adopt a policy that requires patrons to control their dog, with a leash or otherwise, while the dog is in the outdoor dining area.

Not allow the person to take the dog into the outdoor dining area through any of the establishment's or operation's indoor areas; and

Comply with all sanitation standards established in the Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code and any other standard established under the law governing retail food establishments and food service operations.

Additionally, the new law requires dog owners to abide by state and local vaccination requirements before bringing a dog to an outdoor dining area.

Any initial violation of the legislation would result in a 30-day ban of pooches on the patio, while second and third offenses within a year's time would result in six-month and yearlong bans, respectively.

"We're acknowledging the strong human-animal connection," Rep. Laura Lanese, R-Grove City, said of her bill. "It's important for us to send a message that we on Capitol Square are going to step out of the way of businesses on Main Street whenever possible."

Many states already permit restaurant owners to adopt their own pet policy, including California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Georgia, New York, Rhode Island, and Tennessee, legislators have noted, with similar legislation under consideration by the Michigan state legislature.

Date Published: October 23, 2018


Copyright © 2018 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved


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