Michigan lawmakers debate bill that could allow dogs in eateries
Dining with dogs bill would allow Fido into outdoor restaurants
Having dinner with your dog is no problem at home, but generally frowned upon at restaurants.
Some day that may chance, as state lawmakers go back and forth on a dining with dogs bill in Michigan.
Currently, Michigan law prohibits dogs from going inside the gates of an outdoor dining area, leaving them to be chained up outside.
But, if a new bill passes, dogs would be allowed in an outdoor eating area.
Dog lovers Betsy and David Kovach say their pooch is part of the family, which can be a deal breaker when picking places to eat.
"We've always dealt with that, our dog sitting on the outside," said David Kovach. "Normally our vacations are centered around restaurants with outdoor areas so we can take her in," said David's wife.
In Royal Oak, the city is lined many with outdoor dining areas. Restaurants like Gemmayze and Doug Runyon's Lebanese Lounge are open to the dog friendly idea.
"Personally, we let guests sit in the patio with their dogs. We have regulars who love to come," said Runyon.
The bill hit a snag this week when legislators brought up concerns about dog bite liability and handling waste from the animals.
John Corradi from The Rock on 3rd in Royal Oak shares some similar concerns.
"If it's a Leader Dog for the Blind here for a reason, we have no problems. Other than that, keeping outside the fence is where they should be. We're serving food and there are health issues and the health department," said Corradi.
"I don't know that it's a health issue. I'd like to see the statistics of dogs causing disease in restaurants," said Kovach.
Lawmakers say even if the bill becomes law, it is ultimately up to the individual restaurant owners to allow dogs in.