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L.A. County to allow dogs on restaurant patios

February 27, 2012 |  2:55 pm

L.A. County to allow dogs on patios of cafes
Los Angeles County will now allow pet dogs to sit with their owners on restaurant patios, officials said Monday.

The old rules banned dogs from outdoor restaurant patios enclosed by a fence, but dogs were allowed to sit near sidewalk tables.

"This is good news for both pets and owners," Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the county Department of Public Health, told The Times.

"This empowers restaurant owners" to invite dogs onto outdoor patios, he said. "I think it's going to mean enhanced business for some restaurants."

He added: "I'm hoping my dog will invite me out for lunch."

The new rules were cheered by the Lazy Dog Cafe, a canine-themed restaurant chain in Southern California that had always wanted to allow dogs on their outdoor patios in L.A. County but were prevented by the previous strict health regulations.

"Now man's best friend can lounge alongside his owner," Lazy Dog Cafe founder Chris Simms said in a statement.

"This new policy presents benefits to both small business and the community," county Supervisor Don Knabe said in a statement.

The new county rules allow each restaurant to decide whether to allow or continue banning canines from their outdoor patios. County officials said patrons should ask permission from the restaurant before bringing their dog onto the patio.

They also suggested that dogs be walked before entering the restaurant so they will be relaxed while the owner is dining.

The county said pet dogs must enter the patio through an outdoor gate and not be taken inside the establishment. Dogs will not be allowed on chairs, seats or tables.

The new rules go into effect immediately throughout Los Angeles County except in the cities of Long Beach, Pasadena and Vernon, which have their own public health agencies.


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Photo: In this 2008 file photo, Sebastian John of Monrovia walks his dog Bat Girl along Myrtle Street in the city's Old Town near an eatery with sidewalk tables. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times