Dining with your pooch? Ohio lawmakers looking to include dogs at restaurants


COLUMBUS, Ohio (WYTV) – While many pet owners walk their dogs and play outside with them, a new Ohio bill could soon allow them to take their pets out to eat.

A new bill introduced in Ohio would allow dog owners to bring their pets on outdoor patios at restaurants.

The law would prohibit health departments from prohibiting dogs from outdoor dining areas, although restaurants would still be able to ban dogs from their business. The only exception would be for service dogs.

Some pet owners love the idea of eating with their pooch while others say there are health issues that need to be considered.

Harold Milligan, who owns a Siberian Huskie named Nikko, said he would be open to the new move.

“I’m for it,” he said. “I think it would be great if the dog is socially adaptable to that environment. It would be a great idea.”

Not all pet owners believe it’s a good move, however.

“Personally, I would not bring him. I have to take into other people’s consideration. They may have allergies from the pet dander,” said Beverly Bucci, who owns a 3-year-old dog.

Kris Wilster, a public health inspector with the Trumbull County Health Department, said there is more that legislators should worry about than just having dander near food.

“Things the legislators should be concerned about would be, you know, the waste. What if the dog has an accident? Dogs can be aggressive around food. I would be concerned with that,” Wilster said.

Of top concerns, some restaurant owners are asking legislators, “What would happen if a dog lashed out on someone?”

“Who would be liable? You know, it should not fall under the restaurant’s owner liability. It should fall under the pet owner’s liability,” said Sandy Reda, owner of the Magic Tree Pub and Eatery in Boardman.

The Magic Tree does host fundraisers for animals, but Reda doesn’t think having them there is a good idea.

Some local restaurant owners said they would be open to the idea of a “Dogs’ Night Out.”

The new Ohio House Bill could be voted on as early as this fall.