TARPON SPRINGS – As of last week, Tarpon Springs has become the latest city to adopt the fad of doggy dining.
On Oct. 15, the City Commission unanimously approved an ordinance that would allow restaurants to apply for a license for doggy dining, permitting patrons’ dogs in designated outdoor areas.
Commissioner David Banther first proposed the idea in August, saying that he had the support of a number of local restaurants, as well as evidence of success: 10 other municipalities in Pinellas County have already instituted doggy dining, including Dunedin, Safety Harbor and St. Petersburg.
After a review by the Planning and Zoning Board, a final ordinance came back to the City Commission and was passed unanimously, 5-0.
Specific rules were put in place before the Commission approved the ordinance, including signage informing patrons that dogs were allowed at the restaurant, prohibition of restaurant employees from touching the dogs while serving food or drinks and sanitization of tables between patrons. Dogs also must be kept on a leash at all times.
During the first reading of the ordinance on Oct. 1, Commissioner Jeff Larsen asked whether size of the dogs could become an issue, but City Manager Mark LeCouris said that would be too difficult to monitor.
At last week’s Commission meeting, Banther thanked the board and city staff for the work they put in to create and pass the ordinance, saying that he thought doggie dining would be yet another attraction to Tarpon Springs.
Restaurants can now begin applying for a permit through the Development Services Department.