Senate passes bill to allow dogs on restaurant patios

Smiling dogs

LANSING, Mich. (AP/WXMI) — Patrons could bring their dog along while eating in an outdoor area of a restaurant under new legislation.

State law generally prohibits live animals at restaurants.  The bill — which supporters say could boost tourism — was approved by senators Wednesday and sent to the House.

“Michigan’s a tourist state and we’ve also developed quite a niche with our restaurants and breweries,” said Sen. Margaret O’Brien, a sponsor of the legislation. “You can stay a little bit longer and enjoy your favorite beer while having your dog there without having to worry about what they’re doing at home.”

Dogs would have to be leashed and couldn’t pass through the restaurant interior or sit in a chair or on a customer’s lap. The patio would have to be free of dog hair. Surfaces contaminated by dog waste would have to be disinfected immediately.

Around West Michigan, restaurants are responding positively. Harmony Brewing, an already dog-friendly spot, believes the new rules will put dog owners at ease when dining out.

“As a dog owner myself I don’t want to leave my dog at home all evening after I’ve been at work all day,” said Harmony bartender Ben Davey. “To them that’s an eternity…so it’s really great for us.”

The legislation wouldn’t require restaurant owners to allow dogs, and local communities could pass ordinances prohibiting dogs at restaurants.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  • Bob

    All of Canada and almost every state beside Michigan allow people to eat with their dogs on outdoor patios. The people who have the ability to eat out generally have the ability to teach their dog good manners. I have eaten out with my dogs at many restaurants and I will have to say they behave better than a lot of people’s children.