DUNEDIN – Dogs will now be allowed in outdoor dining areas in qualifying Dunedin restaurants with a permit, thanks to a unanimous vote by the Dunedin City Commission on Jan. 20.
The state of Florida made its Doggie Dining Law permanent in May 2009, which allows local government the discretion of allowing restaurant owners to permit their establishments to allow dogs in outdoor dining areas, according to a staff memo.
The bill requires cities to enact their own ordinance and establish permitting for participating restaurants. This will apply only to pet dogs, as service animals are already permitted within business establishments. However, these pets will be limited to outdoor seating only that is accessible without requiring passage through the indoor portions of the establishment, said Matthew Campbell, assistant to the city manager. On a preliminary assessment, he said it looks like between six and eight businesses would currently qualify.
The permit is required to ensure the businesses are aware of and comply with state regulations, Campbell said, but a grace period will be allowed for those businesses already operating with doggie dining established so as to not interrupt what has become a norm for them.
“I’m just really excited about this,” said Commissioner Julie Ward Bujalski. “We’re making an already existing, wonderful practice healthy and legal and for our community animal lovers, this just supports that even more.”