You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Pets at restaurants? Michigan considers allowing dogs at outdoor dining locations

By Ben Freed


Three-year-old Mo, a Shih Tzu, on a downtown Ann Arbor patio with his owners on Monday.

Daniel Brenner |

Nearly everyone would agree that eating a meal or enjoying a drink on a patio outside of a restaurant is an integral experience during Ann Arbor’s warmer months.

But what if man's best friend wants to tag along?

“Animals can be very polarizing,” Washtenaw County environmental health supervisor Kristen Schweighoefer said. “There are a lot of people that feel very strongly about the topic on both sides of the situation.”

Michigan’s food code is in line with the federal food code, which does not allow pets — aside from service animals — to be present in locations where food is served. However, a bill working its way through the Michigan House of Representatives could change that.

“It’s currently not allowed, and there’s typically good reason behind that,” Schweighoefer said.

“That being said, if you’re already in an outdoor environment there are a number of other possible contaminations that you’re not going to be able to control very well.”

The legislation, House Bill No. 4335, was introduced by Representative Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage) in February and is co-sponsored by four other Republican members of the state house. O’Brien has said she introduced the bill to help increase restaurant and other tourism related revenue in Michigan.

Restaurant owners and managers in downtown Ann Arbor said they don’t foresee the new law drastically affecting business. Mac Herbert, a manager at Pacific Rim, and Bill Fall, a manager at Vinology, both said they don't envision their clientele bringing dogs to eat with them very often.

However, if the law does change, many restaurants seemed open to the idea of allowing dogs on their patios.


Bella, a three-month-old Bernese Mountain Dog, on a downtown patio on Monday.

Daniel Brenner |

“Ann Arbor does seem like a dog-friendly town,” Cafe Felix chef Joe VanWagner said.

“Our main concerns are food safety and guest satisfaction, so if it would enhance a guest’s experience to bring their dog and the other guests don’t mind then we’d be happy to try to accommodate.”

The legislation received some criticism during initial testimony in front of the house tourism committee and is now undergoing revisions to address some of the issues raised.

“There were some concerns when the bill was first introduced from organizations like the Michigan Restaurant Association and the Department of Agriculture,” Stephanie Bogema, O’Brien’s legislative director, said.

“We are working with some of those groups now to change the language a bit to make it more acceptable for them.”

Bogema said Rep. O’Brien is working with the organizations and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to develop a rules framework to accompany the new law.

“We need to make sure that it is clear what the restaurant, the local municipality, and the customers’ responsibilities are in terms of watching the pet and the pet’s actions,” she said.

Having a live animal in the presence of food service is a “priority foundation item” that requires immediate correction or correction upon a follow-up if it is noticed by a food safety inspector.

Patrons also can call the county to report violations, but Schweighoefer said pet-related complaints are few and far between.

“We get maybe two or three complaints in a year about pets on patios,” she said. “… I can’t remember a time that we’ve ever had to address this particular violation through our enforcement procedures.”

At some cafes and coffee shops, such as Starbucks on Main Street or Sweetwaters on Washington Street, it is legal for the pets to be outdoors because all food service occurs inside. Code violations occur when pets join their owners on patios offering full-service dining.

Despite the risk for restaurants, dogs can often be seen eating and drinking alongside their owners on a number of Ann Arbor sidewalks. When an animal is sighted at a restaurant, Schweighoefer said it is important to remember any pet could be a service animal.

“Not all service animals are identified by a collar, and you can’t necessarily tell just by looking at them,” she said.

“It’s not just golden retrievers with the little jackets, they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and breeds.”

The bill is unlikely to change anything for restaurants this summer as the house already is out of session, but Bogema said it likely will be taken up again by the tourism committee in the fall.

If the bill passes the house and the senate, it would be an “opt-in” legislation, meaning restaurants would not be required to allow pets on their patios, but would be allowed to if they saw fit. Local municipalities also could pass ordinances to make the bill’s language more restrictive.

Ben Freed covers business for You can sign up here to receive Business Review updates every week. Get in touch with Ben at 734-623-2528 or email him at Follow him on twitter @BFreedinA2



Sat, Jul 13, 2013 : 2:43 a.m.

Service dogs, awesome at restaurants. Generally pets no. I actually don't mind them sitting or laying on the floor but imagine if every table had a dog at it. It would smell like a kennel. If I am paying to eat at a nice restaurant I don't want to "smell" dog.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

I understand that restaurant owners are always capable of asking somebody to leave the restaurant if that person and dependents do not behave nicely. In France, dogs are allowed in and out most restaurants, and its a food culture, more than US. So they are in Germany. I have been way much more bothered in restaurants┬┤ terraces by wild kids running around tables, and screaming than by barking dogs.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 4:51 p.m.



Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 4:56 p.m.

sorry I didn't mean for the above comment to be all caps. I expect it will be deleted....but, my response is a polite no


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Service dogs have been going into Hospitals, Nursing homes and restaurants for many years. They are beloved by many patients, are critical for many with disabilities and I have never, never heard of any having transmitted any disease to any patient! Ever!

martini man

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 2:51 a.m.

If someone's dog suddenly attacks another patron, or starts eating off a neighboring table ..will the eating establishment be held liable ????


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 3:21 a.m.

Of course the restaurant will be held liable in a lawsuit! Dint ya ken that A2 has a Very Active flock of lawyers?


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 2:08 a.m.

You don't need to have your dog go to dinner with you. You may think you do. You don't. Leave the dog at home.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:41 p.m.

I want to see where it's written that fencing off public sidewalks for the "pleasure" of certain restaurant patrons is even legal. Try fencing off the public sidewalk in front of your home or even a retail establishment downtown - and the FENCE will quickly bring an order for removal subject to penalty. This is really about privilege not JUSTICE or "in the name supporting small businesses." Prostitutes are "small businesses" too - are we going to have sidewalk bordellos next? All it will take to end this nonsensical legislative support of privilege in violation of the right to walk sidewalks in this town without tripping over harried waitstaff and inebriated restaurant patrons IS: for the 800+ people who object to this "dine with dogs" idea to tell their friends AND all of us get downtown to express our objection with car horns, some loud music and some disapproving stares directed at anyone in those commandeered seating areas. Friday and Saturday evenings would be a great time for such a celebration of the right to protest. :-)


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

leave the dogs home. i'm writing this from my back deck table, my beloved dog Cora is lying nearby. currently, she's licking and scratching parts of her anatomy in a way that, while I'm used to it-- she's my own beloved dog, for pete sake-- would seem pretty anti-social to others. she almost NEVER barks and she doesn't bite (and if she did, it wouldn't work-- she only has a few teeth-- she's a puppy mill rescue) but she's still not going out with me to ruin someone else's higher priced meal or expensive latte, what with, her leg lifted over her head and the slurpy noises she makes licking her feet. just today at zingermans (outdoor tables) a very well-dressed young woman had a puppy on a leash. the puppy was tugging on the leash to lick something off the sidewalk under the nearby table. watching the woman tugging back on the leash and whacking the dog (not hard, but repeatedly) was disturbing. watching the puppy lick the concrete was more than a little disgusting. dog parks, people. that's why we have dog parks.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 8:28 p.m.



Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 8:14 p.m.

Not fair, if they allow dogs....I'm bringing my cat Francesca! No, I wouldn't do that...but I'm sure some people would try it.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 7:34 p.m.

I actually like dogs. Unfortunately, I am HIGHLY allergic to them. I am exposed to dogs by inconsiderate pet owners frequently as it is. This will just make things worse. I shouldn't have to carry pills and a rescue inhaler with me everywhere I go on the off chance I encounter a dog.

A A Resident

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 7:25 p.m.

I love my pet rat, and could hardly think of leaving him home alone. He's really part of the family. You folks who think that my best buddy wouldn't be appropriate in a restaurant environment are just being petty and narrow-mined.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

I vote no because dogs are smelly and, more often than not, not very well behaved, especially around food. Sure, some dogs behave, but I don't think it is a majority. If it is outside only, then I don't have a big problem with it because I don't eat outside. Why do I want to sit 3 feet from traffic noise and smells, deal with the increased pest issues, and the potential wind issues? No thanks! Everyone doesn't love your dog like you do. How about if I bring my snake to dinner with me?

Jon Saalberg

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

Who needs to worry about important matters such as education and jobs, when we have Governor Snyder and his red-state cabal tackling the important issues - removing the pesky motorcycle helmet law, implementing a state-wide emergency manager initiative that is really about punishing Detroit, attempting to abrogate a woman's right to a safe abortion, and now this centerpiece initiative - ensuring anyone can take their canine onto a restaurant patio, once again ensuring Michigan's legislature adds to its "honor roll" of shame.

Top Cat

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

Reminds me of a Will Rogers quote, "If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went."


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

This is dumb. No.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Personally I'd be much more willing to accept yapping dogs at an outdoor restaurant than having to endure agonizingly awful (and soon to be paid) Ann Arbor street performers while I'm trying to enjoy a meal.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

I will absolutely boycott any restaurant that allows dogs in the dining area, whether indoors or outdoors.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 10:53 p.m.

Sweet. Shorter wait for me.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:12 p.m.

I will never attend a restaraunt that allows pets to be brought inside. Many are pet lovers, but many of us are not. A few dogs will be well behaved because they were properly trained. MOST dogs are not properly trained. Heck most owners cannot get their dog to stop jumping on arriving guests, how are they going to stop the dog from begging for food, barking at whatever catches their eye, etc. Besides the fact it is cruel to the dog to force it to sit on the cement by your side for 60-120 minutes while you have your social hour.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:10 p.m.

Ben - great article and certainly one worth discussing. Some great posts on here as well. My question to you would be, what if a dog bites someone. Is the owner of the bar/restaurant liable since he was the one that allowed dogs? Or is the owner liable? Is it a combination of the two? Dog bites can get quite expensive in court. Not only for hospital bills, shots, etc.., but the lawsuit that will always follow (thanks to our wonderful Trial Attorneys). Also, the size of the dog could be an issue. I can just see a Great Dane and a St Benard on the same patio. :)

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

Many dog owners have good judgement, others not so much. A couple years ago a young woman brought her pit bull into the thick of the crowd - in the dance area - at Top of the Park. Who knows what she was thinking. For some, it's all about being seen with their dog.

Always Amazed

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:56 p.m.

Whoops! I've been bringing my dog downtown and sitting at sidewalk tables with her for years. Not once have I been told this is not allowed and in many cases, the restaurants have brought out a water dish without my requesting same. I have never seen a dog go potty in a seating area--just sayin'. In Seattle, there are a number of restaurants where dogs do in fact dine indoors. These establishments make the rules very clear, and I suppose those anti-doggies just stay away. I would speculate that any germs that a furry pet might have are far less risky to humans than other humans who are sneezing and hacking away. At any rate--I will, now that I know, refrain my bringing my furry friend to a sidewalk seating area.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:51 p.m.

It will all boil down to $$. Restaurants will not lose money if they feel allowing dogs will decrease profits. I will not eat where there are dogs.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

I love dogs. I have 2 beautiful lovely well-behaved labs. I take them to dog friendly places like the dog park, leashed on running trails, my friends houses that love dogs, etc. They do not belong at restaurants.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:12 p.m.

Exactly! I am sure that there are many restaurants who will choose not to allow dogs so you'll have plenty of places to go. There will also be restaurants who will choose to allow dogs so the dog people will have plenty of places to go too. win-win


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:44 p.m.

There are several cities across the country that allow people to bring their dog to dine with their owners. A whinning barking dog is no different than a young child having a temper trantum. Do want to hear a screaming child or a barking dog?

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

Again this isn't about kids it's about DOGS. Let's try to stay on topic

Top Cat

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 6:44 p.m.

A screaming child. I can justify that as I'm listening to a future payer of my social security.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 6:31 p.m.

No and no. Let's not make the problem worse.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

Our Golden loves going downtown; her behavior is always perfectly appropriate. The health risks posed by the birds are the real issue! Ban birds!!

Basic Bob

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

i'll stick to restaurants that understand the proper place for a dog. like the korean barbeque.

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 12:01 a.m.

That's so's funny


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

If dog owners want to truly dine with their dogs. They should eat from the floor with no silverware, just like their dog.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

I'll bet my dog will even be able to smoke his stogie on the outdoor patio.

David Bardallis

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

I'm a cat person these days, but who cares? I thought Ann Arborites already did this anyway, and it's never bothered me. But whiners gonna whine.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

Yes you are.

George Forbes

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

I often see dogs in restaurant patio areas on Main St.

Homeland Conspiracy

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : midnight

You mean sidewalk area


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

I'll just copy and paste my comment from the other article that was up yesterday "I would not eat in any restaurant that allows pets to be sitting in the dining area. If you want to eat with your pets at the table in your own house that is one thing, but you should not be forcing anyone else to have to deal with that. Just look at the picture, who wants to eat on a table that someone's dog has been resting his head on? Again if you want to do that at your own home that's fine but that is not appropriate in a public setting in my opinion"


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

Many European countries allow this and I can tell you from experience that there is nothing more appetizing than having the dog at the next table squeeze one off at your feet.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

I probably would not be much bothered by a reasonably well-behaved dog near my table; running and screaming kids and interminable and LOUD cell phone conversations do annoy me. That said, (and as a lifelong dog lover) I voted "no"; the dogs are better off at home. And now that I think about it, it is easier to leave a dog home alone - not so much a young child.

A A Resident

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

Remember, a dog's tongue is also his toilet paper.

Paula Gardner

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

Our polls are far from scientific, but it's rare to see one this close. After nearly 1,000 votes, YES and NO are nose-to-nose. Anyone else surprised to see that?


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 1:05 a.m.

Two words: "doggie entitlement"


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

How fair is your poll if we can only vote once?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

The polling's split 50-50, but the anti-dog people obviously feel more compelled to comment. What's wrong with leaving the policy up to each establishment as it sees fit? If it's that big of a deal to you, don't go to places that allow dogs. How simple is that?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:58 p.m.

Yes, I would have thought more would not want dogs at the dinner table.

Basic Bob

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:29 p.m.

like two dogs greeting each other.

Paula Gardner

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

I'd have thought the no votes would be a bit higher. I've never been troubled by a poorly behaved dog at an outdoor establishment - but I also have never brought a dog to one. Of the four dogs I've owned, only one would have been remotely suitable for that kind of setting. And when I consider the potential for issues, the number of people with allergies, the potential for the dog to be pretty uncomfortable ... it just feels like a small slice of the population would support it.

Chip Reed

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

Which side did you think would have more votes?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

patio: 1. a paved outdoor area adjoining a house. 2. a roofless inner courtyard in a Spanish (style) house. So why is this conversation about "patios" when what's really being talked about is: public sidewalks converted to dinning areas for "trendy minded" restaurant goers and revenue minded restaurant owners? Folks, if ya like eating on the patio, you're in the wrong place when you eat on public sidewalks. Those wanting to have their dogs with them while they eat on the sidewalks of our city are just as out of place as the dogless people wanting to eat on sidewalks. The other kind of people who eat while seated on sidewalks are called HOMELESS PEOPLE. Only, most of them know they're out of place and want a home where they can eat ON THE PATIO during summer. For the rest of us: we call eating outdoors PICNICS - which can even be catered. Thoughtless and sloppy thinking people may be a "trend" but they're not the kind we want making our laws and regulations now, are they?

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:58 p.m.



Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

I support allowing businesses to act within their best interests in this case. While I personally own a dog, he is not well-behaved enough around food for me to bring him to any restaurant.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 7:12 p.m.

@Navy is correct - they do pay a nominal rental fee for the sidewalk. Note that if they want that same chunk of sidewalk during Art Fairs that they have to rent that separately. No, seriously.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:13 p.m.

@Tru2Blu76- Did you just make that stuff up? I looked up the rules in Ann Arbor for the use of public sidwalks and immediately found the form that businesses are required to submit in order to use the public sidewalk. The annual fee is $1 per square foot used, and $0.05 per day per square foot. HOPE THAT HELPS.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Only, in this case, it's a matter of private businesses using public sidewalks for their own profit - and without providing any compensating PUBLIC BENEFIT.

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

I want OUR sidewalks BACK!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3 p.m.


Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

I think this would be a great idea. I love going for a walk and then hanging out with my well behaved dog at a cafe. This will make my life, and the lives of many others, so much more pleasant.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

I honestly thought this was already allowed in A2. I regularly take my dog to restaurants if I know we are going to eat outside....


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

I love dogs. That said, I do not wish to dine with them. There are a number of issues that I see beyond the dog hair, etc. Not everyone likes dogs; some are actually afraid of them. People are allergic to dog (as am I). Customers and wait staff could easily trip over them. They may wander up to someone else's table and beg food. They pee---or ralph up food---behaviors that I prefer that they do elsewhere. I can think of one way to support both sides: Do you wish to sit in the doggie section? Gate it off, let the doggie lovers and their canines sit in a separate section just like back in the smoking/non smoking section days. Just an aside, is this REALLY what our elected officials are doing in Lansing? In my opinion THAT is the real issue here!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

Woman in Ypsilanti I am allergic to your dog whether it's inside or outside. And seriously? We can just hose down the pee? What about when they defecate? Hose that down too?

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

Dogs would only be allowed on outside patios which should help with issues such as allergies and dog hair. Peeing too I guess since outside it is just a matter of breaking out the hose.

Dog Guy

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Will dog menus be required? Travelers report no fuss or problems from dog or cat menus.

Ben Freed

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

Nothing will be required. The law simply makes it permissible for restaurant to allow dogs.

Ricardo Queso

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

I am more concerned with the smokers who park themselves next to outdoor tables. If sanitary laws apply to outdoor seating then by extension smoking should be banned on the few blocks that feature dining al fresco.

Ricardo Queso

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 1:05 p.m.

As an example, the strolling sidewalk smokers in front of Real Seafood. You can be "inside" and get a blast of smoke while they linger and stare at your meal. The two block area on Main should be declared a smoke free zone.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 3:24 a.m.

Jake C...the problem is...most obnoxious people , even if you ask politely, will be even more obnoxious towards you!

Jake C

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

Well it doesn't really matter is smoking isn't allowed in the outside seating areas if someone 5 feet away from you is on the other side of the roped-off area and is just on the regular sidewalk, and you happen to be downwind. As with most things, people just need to speak up if they're being inconvenienced and ask politely if someone would move a short distance away.

Vivienne Armentrout

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

Actually, smoking is illegal even in outside seating if food is served. (The Michigan smoking ban.) Of course this may not be enforced at all restaurants. If you see that happening and it bothers you, complain.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

I am a born and raised Ann Arborite...this is a bad idea! Well behaved or not, I am not going to patronize a business with a bunch of dogs on the outdoor patio when I am trying to have lunch or dinner. Leave your dog at home. I don't want to watch your dog drool, beg for your food or other thngs that I would prefer not to see while eating. Also, what about barking and possible biting as well as aggression toward other dogs nearby? Dogs may be pets but they are also animals, some things set them off, why would restaurants want to risk the possible liability?

A A Resident

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

My snake also will not lick his privates, nor try to sniff yours.

Local Yocal

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

Off topic: Whats going on on Main St. Its closed from Liberty to William and tents are being set up?

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

Here's your answer LY:


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

It is impolite to eat in front of another animal, be they human or canine. Therefore I predict that an enterprising restauranteur will put dog food on the menu, and serve it up to the pooch in a doggie food and water dish. This will attract more dog loving patrons and the waitperson can earn a bigger tip. The vote (above) is 50/50 concerning Doggie Dining. Dogless patrons can be treated to watching the dogs eat. The next step will be for the restaurant to install Dog Restrooms. The Health Dept can charge fees for inspections of the restaurant kitchen. The Main Street Assn can sponsor a once-a-week "Downtown Dog Dining" Night. The DDA can sponsor an annual "Dog Jamboree." The ideas are limitless. Ann Arbor: Keep it Weird ! ! !


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:09 p.m.

@Alan. If the dog wags his tail at the waitperson, could that count as a tip? Cartoon I saw: Female dog leaving the house, carrying her suitcase, on her way to see a divorce lawyer. She calls over her shoulder to her startled husband, sitting in the chair reading a newspaper: "Rover, all those times I wagged my tail, I was faking it!"


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Dogs don't tip.

A A Resident

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Can I bring my snake? He's very quiet... doesn't bark or whine, and doesn't "mark" territory.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

What's wrong with allowing restaurants to decide if they'll allow dogs on their patios or not? People who don't like it don't have to patronize those establishments. Sometimes, when I'm out and about with my dog, it would be nice to be able to stop in somewhere to have a beer or perhaps a snack. My gf and I were downtown with our dogs a few weeks ago when we came upon the beer garden. We would have liked to have stopped in for a few minutes on the spur of the moment (if the owner would allow it), but couldn't because we had our dogs with us. Simply saying "leave your dog at home" ignores the fact that people get their dogs to be companions and like to do things with them, and also ignores the fact that stopping in at an outdoor patio is often an impromtu decision. It's very common in Europe for dogs to be allowed at outdoor and even indoor dining establishments, and they have few problems there. Obviously, you need to have rules for them, but dogs that don't do well in those situations typically aren't brought back by their owners. Finally, if you're worried about the sanitary aspects of bringing dogs onto an outdoor patio, it's pretty obvious that you've never worked in a restaurant. It's a good bet there are far worse things going on in the kitchen.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 3:19 a.m.

This is NOT Europe!!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:28 p.m.

alan - I'm sure they'd have it posted - either "no pets" or "dogs allowed on patio" sign. If it's that important to you, I'm sure you'd keep an eye out for them. Or do you think you have a right to go around oblivious to your surroundings?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

So will they have to post big signs warning me that there's a possibility that someone might sit down next to me with a dog? I can't avoid an establishment if I don't know their policy. I have to wait until you sit down at the next table with your dog.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

OK, Ann Arbor - how about those people from religions/cultures that are offended or have taboos regarding dogs? What do you propose to do about that?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:08 p.m.

I'm sorry Brad that too few people got your Church/Dog Park reference. But it is funny that you can't have a dog across the street because it's "culturally insenstive", but you can have one at the dinner table in Ann Arbor.

Basic Bob

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:27 p.m.

only some taboos are honored. the others are rejected as antiquated superstition or irrational fear. this is america. we require hair nets on the hippie bus boys, we don't eat horses and we leave our dogs at home.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Most of these also have taboos against alcohol as well and that doesn't appear to be a problem.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

I think the thing to do in that situation is exactly what we do when certain religions or cultures get offended or have taboos about other things. I mean there are people who are offended by all sorts of things such as women wearing too little clothing or homosexuals engaging in public displays of affection etc.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1 p.m.

I notice the liberal use of the term "patio" both in the story and in the comments. As one who rarely eats downtown but occasionally drives Main Street at night I have to ask, how many restaurants have an actual "patio" that isn't actually the sidewalk? I see a difference between the two.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

not just restaurant owners or their patrons either jcj. So its a bit complicated don't you think?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:33 p.m.

Craig Good point. And that "commandeered" sidewalk is paid for by all not just dog owners.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Ben, Thanks for the clarification on the legal aspect. Regardless, in my personal opinion I think restaurants that "commandeer" the sidewalk don't actually have "patios" they have a chunk of sidewalk space. Again my personal opinion.

Ben Freed

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

Craig, For the purposes of this law, patios are simply outdoor seating areas. There are certainly establishments that have more "formal" patios attached to their restaurants or on rooftops, but for legal purposes the sidewalk patios are just as much a part of the restaurant.

Jon Wax

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

1. sounds great!!! curious to see how folks accept all the pit bulls. fair is fair, right? 2. so cigarette smoke is a no go, but dog crap is ok? 3. this state is falling apart and what do we get? a law allowing dogs to eat at out? weird priorities, folks. Peace Wax


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

Why do so many people think that dogs would just crap on a restaurant patio? Have you directly seen this behavior? I'm guessing not. Any dog polite and calm enough to bring onto a public patio is not going to poop at random, they are trained. Not an issue.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:57 p.m.

This article is about dogs, not children. Children are people; dogs are not. Let's not confuse the two. It's not a valid argument.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:07 p.m.

I still don't see how comparing kids to dogs is a valid argument.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 9:48 p.m.

Yes, it is true that humans and dogs are entirely different species with different needs and rights. However, that doesn't matter if we are talking about a health risk. Also, the comparison can be said not to be between dogs and kids but rather between kids and dog *owners*. Should a child have more of a right to be in a restaurant with a health risk such as a dirty diaper than a dog owner has to be there with a health risk such as a dog? The part of this argument that pushes my buttons is the way the dog owners legitimate desires and needs are completely dismissed. I agree that the dog has no rights. The dog *owner* on the other hand, does. Actually, fwiw, I find the health arguments lacking entirely. I don't think it is very common for people to get sick from dogs and on an outside patio, especially one adjacent to a sidewalk, I just don't see how allowing dogs increases anyone's health risks.

Sandy Castle

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 9:40 p.m.

I like both children and animals (I have some of each) when they're well-behaved in public. I wouldn't care if either is where I eat as long as they are well-behaved and kept in check by their parents/owners. I never allowed people to suffer the presence of my child if they were a nuisance during another patrons meal; i.e. screaming, fussing loudly, wandering around, etc. Most people seem to believe that other people think their children and pets are adorable and WANT to hold/pet and so in no way curtail said child/pet when in public. It's annoying in the extreme to go out for a meal and have to deal with it, whether child or pet. It is not a valid argument, however, to compare children and domesticated animals. They are entirely different species with different rights and social expectations.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

I don't think of my dog as my child. I do however, find that when someone with children makes the argument that because children are human, that somehow gives them more of an entitlement to bother others, it doesn't sit well with me. I believe that my right to sit in a restaurant and enjoy myself (even if that means being accompanied by a dog) is just as important as anyone else's right to sit in a restaurant and enjoy themselves. So when someone says "your dog is a health hazard and thus shouldn't be allowed" it seems fair to point out that children in diapers are a much greater health hazard. If it is really a health hazard that is the issue, then even though they are humans, it really is children in diapers who should be banned. IF it is about an annoyance, same deal. A child doesn't have more of a right to be annoying in a restaurant than dog owner does. Me? I like both children and dogs and prefer the sorts of places where both are welcomed.

Sandy Castle

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 8:39 p.m.

Out rights are not our domesticated animals rights. They are animals not humans.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 8:21 p.m.

Yes, lets end the comparison of children and dogs. This is often found in these discussions, because dogs and other pets are emotional substitutes for children. Dogs bring to the dining environment things that children rarely do, like ticks and fleas, hair, that great dog smell, etc.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:08 p.m.

Dog owners, however, are also people and usually citizens.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

Thank you! Children are humans not canines or domesticated wild animals. Please stop comparing children to dogs and vice versa.

Sandy Castle

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:04 p.m.

The difference is that kids (even the poorly behaved in public/crappy parented ones) are citizens and are entitled to the rights guaranteed by our constitution. Dogs are domesticated animals and they do not have rights.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

I don't see the difference. I don't like either and I don't want either of them around me when I'm paying for a meal. It depends on who you're talking to.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

It is a valid counter-argument to those who would deny dogs because of health reasons though. Small humans and especially those still in diapers are a much greater health risk. And while it is true that they are people and dogs are not, it is also true that they are much more of a health risk than dogs.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

I love dogs! Love, love, love them. I'm one of those who sees a dog and wants to pet him/her (with permission, of course) and I do talk to him/her in that horrible sing-songy voice, but I'm inclined to say no to dogs in the outdoor areas. There are just too many "maybes" involved. I was with someone once who had their dog at an outdoor patio and a passerby stepped on the poor dog's tail. Very well-behaved boy, but he was startled and hurt , so he jumped up hit his enormous head on our table and knocked everything off of it. It was a mess. Then there is the possbility of poorly behaved dogs. For the poster who said, "no one is going to let their dog run from table to table begging for scraps!", uh, think again. I've seen people let their kids do that, so what makes you think a dog owner won't allow it? And what if a dog bite a patron? Ugh! Finally, you will have the "I'm allergic" crowd to contend with, too (yes, even if it is outside). All things to consider and if I were restaurant staff, I wouldn't want to deal with the range of possibilities. Selfishly, I would say allow it, but realistically, it makes more sense so say no.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

Looks like I'm in the minority, but sure - allow dogs in outdoor dining. After all, many dogs behave better than many children.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 10:02 p.m.

Blame the parents not the dog.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

Ok I'm cool with this now that I see it's specific to ONLY outdoor locations, and even has wording that specifies that dog must be well behaved and not create a health hazard. So that means putting your little foofoo dog on the table to eat with you will DEFINITELY be out. Honestly I only see this helping businesses not hurting them.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

I couldn't agree with Alan more. As I was reading your comment I was thinking the same thing-who determines the definition of a well behaved dog? And good gracious-if anyone were to approach a dog's owner by telling them that their dog is not well behaved and has to leave...well I fear the reaction that would come about from that!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

Who decides what is well behaved and what is a health hazard? I don't think dogs are well behaved by virtue of being dogs and I think that bringing dogs to a restaurant is a health hazard.

Linda Peck

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

It is interesting that this is a Republican sponsored bill.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

Akin to the repeal of the Helmet Law.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

@ Linda Stupidity is not ONLY a Democrat thing!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:27 p.m.

It's from the 'nobody can tell me what to do' crowd.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Yes, they are working on the important issues. As for tourism ... Come to Michigan, where we allow dogs on restaurant patios. I wonder if they've done the math on the millions of additional dollars this will bring to the state in revenue.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

From the people whose presidential candidate bungeed his dog on the roof of the car. Woof!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

If I wanted to dine with a bunch of dirty animals I'd eat in a barn. No thanks. Any place that allows this will not be patronized by me.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

Any dog that can tap dance should be made welcome at any restaurant.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.



Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

well, my dogs are better behaved than most children in local restaurants so, of course, i would like to have them with me.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 8:14 p.m.

I would guess that your dogs smell worse than my children, its the smell I am worried about.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

The problem with that statement is that everybody has children better behaved than other people's, and everybody's dog is also better behaved and more obedient. Dog's don't belong at public restaurants.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

Bad idea. Dogs sometimes do things that I don't really want to watch while I'm eating. Patron, gesturing toward dog: "I'll have what he's having" Waitperson: "Don't you think you should pet him first?"


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 7:56 p.m.

Didn't anybody ever tell you not to pet a dog with a bone?

Bob W

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

This is fraught with problems. I'm a dog person so let's get that out of the way. I have a friend who has been part of service dog training for 13 years. She gets the puppy and lives with it for a year. Takes it work where the employer has been good enough to allow this. It goes to meetings, the cafeteria, walks crowded halls and learns to live in a variable environment with all kinds of people. The intent is to familiarize the dog with various situations and for her to assess its temperament. If all goes well the dog goes onto more formal service dog training. Will your everyday pet "Fido" be as well assessed and trained by its owners?. Will there be size limits? A friendly little Spaniel is one thing, what about a 90 lb. Rottweiler? The sidewalks outside restaurants are difficult enough to navigate now. This idea is fraught with problems. Hope the restaurants have some heavy duty liability insurance or the bill allows restaurants to opt out.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 6 p.m.

I agree - I think well behaved dogs who sit under the table are lovely, but many "pet" dogs are not trained to the level of service dogs. Additionally, I also had the thought about sidewalks being crowded with tables, oftentimes it's hard to find somewhere to put my purse Adding an animal with a leash who might possibly move in an unpredictable manner seems like it might make things more difficult for the wait staff.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

Having worked in a restaurant for nearly a decade until just's amazing to me what the guests themselves do and allow their children to do. I don't think those people are any exception to how they'd allow their dog to act. There are two such drastic opinions to each side of this decision. There are some individuals who would LOVE to take their dog to dinner with them. However, there are also individuals who despise this idea. It's obvious that if this passes both groups will not be made happy but I believe that going out to dinner should be an enjoyable experience and if someone can't choose to sit outside and enjoy their dinner because there's a furball hanging around, perhaps whining, not sitting still, barking, being smelly, etc., then this should not be passed. I think it's a terrible idea.

A A Resident

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

How is allowing dogs on the patio any better than allowing them inside the restaurant? And why is my pet pot-bellied pig being discriminated against?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

It doesn't matter if they're inside or outside. That what makes this so absurd.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

I can't remember a time I have NOT seen a dog or 2 on A2's restaurant patios while the owners ate. Never knew it was against the rules.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

People need to keep their dogs at home. Woof!

Boo Radley

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

So ... if it is currently not legal, why are there photos of dogs at Ann Arbor restaurant patios? Which restaurants are those? The photos are very indicative of many pet owners who take their pets anywhere they want, even though they are not allowed.

Boo Radley

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 12:28 a.m.

Thanks, Ben Personally, if I find myself about to enter a restaurant, and passing by their outdoor patio area I see pets there .... I'm turning around and going elsewhere.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

It may be too that the dogs sitting at restaurants are service dogs.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

It's already an issue - I've seen people feeding their lap-sized dogs *at* the table at both Noodles and Co. and Whole Foods. I'm a dog lover and I was grossed out. If this becomes legal, I'd not be pleased.

Ben Freed

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

Boo, It is not currently legal, but as stated in the article it is a common occurrence to see dogs on many outdoor patios in Ann Arbor. Because it's a widespread issue, we declined to identify the specific restaurants where we photographed the dogs. Suffice it to say that from anecdotal evidence there is very little enforcement of this ordinance in our city.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

Oh. I misread the articles title. when it said Pets at restaurants I thought that trendy A2 restaurants were offering a new menu item. Bow Wow Chow? Fido fricasse?


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Slab of lab? Poodles and noodles?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Why are service dogs not required to be identifiable? Anyone can claim their pooch is a service dog. How might staff tell?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

I was wondering the exact same thing Ignatz and thanks for your explanation Boo. I was under the impression that service dogs had to wear some sort of identification if only to stop people from petting or engaging with them as they are "on the job."

Boo Radley

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

The ADA actually makes it unlawful to require identification of service dogs (or proof of the person's disability). This does cause a problem of "fake" service dogs.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

Ick. I go out to relax, be waited on, talk to friends. I don't wait to be yapped at or begged from. Won't go anymore.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

Leave your dogs at home when you go out to eat. Not everyone wants to share their dining experience with animals. And speaking as a waitress who serves at an establishment with a patio where small dogs are allowed, they are an OBSTACLE. I've tripped on leashes, stepped on tails, paws, etc., while trying to navigate carrying heavy trays to crowded tables. If you want to eat outside with your dog, bbq in your yard or a city park.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 7:41 p.m.

@ hockeymom - I completely agree. Pets at a restaurant? No, thank you.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

There are dozens of restaurants in Ann Arbor which allow dogs at the sidewalk seating areas as well as many in Ypsilanti even now and even though it is technically illegal at some of them. I find it adds significantly to my quality of life.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

To Woman In Ypsilanti: I think the Fleetwood allows dogs.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

No thank you. I would prefer to sit with my well behaved dog at a restaurant. I will however, choose those places which are welcoming to me and my dog. I tip very well so I am sure that there are plenty of area servers who will welcome us with open arms.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

It seems that liability issues and the insurance industry may settle this, not a calm and reasonable discussion between dog advocates and those of a different persuasion. I would put this issue right up there with allowing the petting of bear cubs, and no one in their right mind would legislate approval of that!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

I find you loud, screeching and annoying. Just like you don't like being lumped in with owners of poorly behaved dogs, parents don't like being lumped in with those choose to have little or no control over their children. I will take my children wherever I please because they are human beings and benefit socially from experiences with other humans. If you want your dog to benefit socially, take it to a dog park to socialize with other dogs.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

I don't go to restaurants where there is a high chance of children being present. I find them loud, screeching and annoying. And I've seen more than one waiter get run over and tripped by a running/screaming child.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:39 a.m.

Do people really need to take their pets to a restaurant? What happens when someone gets bitten or the dog's face is in your food or they leave a load on the sidewalk (very appetizing)? Keep them home where they belong!

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

Hey pest Let's please stay on topic They are not talking about kids they are talking about DOGS

Ben Freed

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

TVR, As I mentioned to sellers, liability issues like the ones you bring up are some of the key sticking points for the bill. The bill's author and sponsors are currently working with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as the Michigan Restaurant association and other parties to try to iron out issues like this that could arise.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

Same can be said about kids. I have no kids - don't want any. Yet my dogs are better behaved that many children I see running around, at restaurants, in parks, stores, etc. My dogs do not bite (if they are or us feel threatened, they will get defensive and give warning) My dogs have polite table manners. I can leave food on any table within their reach and they will not attempt to eat it. My dogs are housetrained and do not poop on sidewalks. Grassy areas only. "keep them home where they belong"..... Sorry, but they belong with me if I chose to take them in public. Again, same can be said about kids, "keep them home where they belong".

Jack Gladney

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

To paraphrase the writer/reporter (Julia) who used to work at, "If your dog come near my table, I will end your dog!"

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

LOL luv it!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:09 p.m.

Be careful - threats will not be tolerated

Jack Gladney

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

@aboriginal ...funniest editorial, ever. ;-)


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

Wow, I forgot about that one!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

Before you know it, they'll allow murderous cats to run around without leashes!

Bob W

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 6:08 p.m.

Mermaid, we are on our third cat so I know cats, thank you. However, in as much as they are not native to this country but the other, local fauna is, we keep him indoors. The cat is safer and healthier that way to boot.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

Nice attitude there, Bob W & Arboriginal.... obviously you don't appreciate or even understand the nature of our feline friends. Sounds like you two need to chill!

Bob W

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:08 p.m.

Aboriginal, not to worry. These cats you speak of are too busy running loose in our neighborhood killing every living thing within reach to be bothered with going out to a restaurant to eat. ;o)


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

The question is not with regard to patrons, but food prep. The rules appear to stem more from food safety and not from annoyance (covered under local laws) or danger (covered under other laws). If the dog, cat, parrot, or turtle is being a ruckus, patrons can visit other establishments. It's a matter of food safety that the government should be concerned about, not your individual personal inconveniences With that said - if pets are allowed - it should be visually posted so patrons who may have allergies can be made well aware of the risks they are taking. .

Ben Freed

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

From talking to food safety experts and the legislative director of the bill the concerns stem from both places. There is concern over food safety, however food safety is already severely jeopardized simply be eating outside (airborne pathogens impossible to control, etc) that the addition of a dog, as long as it's not running into the kitchen, may not make that much of a difference. The issue, I believe, has to do with liability concerns if the dog does act out or someone is allergic to it etc. What would happen to the restaurant and the county health authority if something goes wrong? Is the liability on them? The dog owner, etc? There are currently rules being written to clarify these issues that would accompany the bill.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:22 a.m.

I agree, if the dog is well behaved great but if not it should stay home. If only parents would do the same thing and leave screaming, whining kids at home.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

I am pretty sure that restaurants are allowed to ask unruly patrons to leave regardless of if they are canine or human. I don't see this as being much of a problem especially since most kids and most dogs are well behaved.

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

Thank you jcj!!!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

The slippery slope starts with dogs being treated like humans!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

Sorry Judy, but that would put us on the proverbial slippery slope. First screaming kids are left home, before you know it, we are putting them down because they can't be potty trained.

Dirty Mouth

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:06 a.m.

The problem is not the dogs per say, but the irresponsible owners. What do we need next, small children bitting during a night out, dog feces under our feet? No thanks!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:35 a.m.

Explain this for me. Are you saying you are ok with dogs being in restaurants but the owners may not handle them responsibly? Dogs are dogs. They are going to do things dogs do. I don't care how good a dog owner you are, my dogs, your dogs and everyone else's dogs do not belong in restaurants. Plus, with the prices of food downtown, who can afford to pay for another meal.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 10:59 a.m.

Frist off, I love my dogs, but I do not feel I have to take them everywhere I go. And while in general they are well behaved, certain things can set them off. If I am trying to enjoy a meal or a drink in a public place, I do not want to worry about having to deal with a situation that sets them off, it may be the way you smell or another dog that might try to invade their space. Secondly, I do not know your dog, and yes it is a nice, friendly dog that does not bite, but I do not know that, and if for some reason the dog is out of its comfort zone, things can go sidewise in a hurry. I know, I have seen it. (for the record, I have a German Shepard/Black lab mix and an English bulldog) I am not worried about dog hair flouting around, or other issues, I am more concerned about the general welfare of the people and the other animals in a relatively close and confined area.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:28 p.m.

Ross What part of craig saying HIS two dogs did you miss?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

Craig, you must not be around dogs very much? They don't just poop at will.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

I agree. I would not even consider taking my two dogs into that type of setting. In addition to the factors you mentioned, I don't want to be responsible for my dog pooping and ruining the meals of everyone in the restaurant. I can't see how a dog would see this as a pleasant experience, it is solely for the benefit of the dog owner and not very responsible.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

Spoken like someone that actually gets it that not everyone wants to pet every dog they see. Thank you for being one of the responsible dog owners.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 10:55 a.m.

First, the dog in picture 1 is most likely a Shihtzu, not a Shiatsu, which is a form of massage, and second, I've been in restaurants with service dogs and they generally garner more positive attention than not, I see no difference, no one is going to let their dog run from table to table begging for scraps!


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Count on Brad for great LOL.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

I guess that makes it a happy ending.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

Isn't that a Japanese car? I would expect people to not allow their dog to run from table to table begging for scraps, but I would also expect people to not allow their children to run around and being a nuisance. That expectation is not always met.

Dirty Mouth

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:07 a.m.

I could use a massage. ;)

Paula Gardner

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:04 a.m.

I just 'massaged' the correct dog breed into the caption.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 10:54 a.m.

I am guessing if dogs voted they would vote to be walked in a nice cool park and taken home to eat, drink, and sleep. Sitting on concrete while their human owner socializes is probably not their idea of a good time. How about just ordering take out and letting the poor dog enjoy him/her self in an environment that is comfortable for the dog? And may I add: This Michigan legislature is right on top of what's important to us, the taxpayers, isn't it?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:42 p.m.

Tru2Blu76, Well, this is a good way to fill in their time card....and call themselves full time when they work less than 95 days a year. 4th highest paid state legislature in the country...."full time" too.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Pest, (love the name but you aren't one!) I agree doges like to socialize but I don't think that means sitting next to their owner at an eating establishment for however long that person chooses to sit and converse and eat. There are many wonderful ways to help socialize your animals.....I don't see a restaurant experience as a good choice. Dog parks, neighborhood walks, picnics etc....great times for doggies to have cool grass under their feet and see the world. Sitting on concrete, under a table so the master can eat, doesn't strike me as socializing.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Cash: Thanks for showing some common sense. As for the argument that claims "responsible" dog owners are either "universal" or that they can be "told to leave" - the real question is WHY some legislators want to cater to the restaurants who intend to take public property & thoroughfares and convert them to their own use & profit?


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

Personally, my dogs enjoy going to "town"now and then. I usually take then for walks in my neighborhood or at a park, but they love seeing the action of "city life" every once in a while as well. Responsible dog owners need to make sure their dogs are properly socialized, and that means bringing them into contact with other humans and dogs and to correct any negative behavior so that the dog is well-socialized and adjusted in different circumstances. It's not uncommon for other states/countries to allow dogs at outside dining areas. Yes, proper behavior need to exist or the person and dog can be asked/told to leave.

Atlas Shrugged

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 10:53 a.m.

Great idea. No more having to take doggie bags home.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 10:31 p.m.

I could not agree more.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 10:46 a.m.

Well behaved dogs, great. Barking whining dogs etc. no. It either needs to be in the law change. Businesses will not want to get in the middle and effect any customers. But a barking whining dog could cause me to go down the street to one of A2 other fine restaurants.

Ben Freed

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

I feel like there might have to be some rules established and posted in restaurants that allowed dogs reading something along the lines of: If your dog is unruly or disturbing others that it/you can be asked to leave.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

Well barking and whining doesn't exactly create either a health or safety hazard.....but a whining yapping dog would be akin to a drunk belligerent person harassing customers. It would be managements responsibility to either ask the person to get their dog under control or ask them to leave.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

But kids don't usually poop on the floor next to your table.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

I feel the same way about kids in nice restaurants: if they're well-behaved kids - great. If they're screaming, whining kids - no. I find that most people's dogs are better behaved than most people's young children.