Two bills that would permit dogs on restaurant patios statewide are being introduced in the House and Senate. The bill is as much about business as it is about dogs.
Earlier this year, a few health departments sent letters to business telling them it’s illegal to allow dogs on their patios. Many restaurants who were doing that were upset. Natalie Walston with the Ohio Restaurant Association says some businesses think it’s a good way to compete with delivery services.
“It’s so easy to order your favorite food from delivery so you are competing with that," Walston says. "You want to get people in the door so if you can do that by allowing people to bring their pets then more power to you.”
The new bills will leave it up to businesses to determine whether to allow dogs on patios. The legislation will not allow dogs inside the restaurants.
Republican Senator Bill Coley of Liberty Township, a dog owner himself, says his bill would allow business owners, not health departments, to make the decisions to allow dogs on their outdoor patios.
“Why should a health department get to be onerous and just say, ‘No, no, nowhere in my jurisdiction, in my thiefdom, shall there be a dog?’ What the heck!”