It’s official. Pet dogs are finally allowed in restaurants.
In recent years, restaurants throughout Nashville started offering special periods for pet-owner patrons to bring their dogs to outdoor dining areas or patios. The practice went on even though Metro held a policy outlawing dogs on the premises of restaurants.
That changed Tuesday night when the Metro Council adopted a bill proposed by Councilwoman (and animal lover) Karen Bennett that takes advantage of a state law passed last year that authorizes municipalities with populations greater than 100,000 people to allow the presence of dogs in outside eating areas.
The bill passed by a 32-3 vote, with council members Charlie Tygard, Michael Craddock and Robert Duvall the dissenters.
Restaurant owners themselves can still decide whether they want to allow dogs onto outdoor eating areas of their establishments. To do so, they must pay an annual fee of $20 to receive a special permit through the Metro Health Department.
The new law establishes several rules and guidelines to address health and sanitation concerns.
• Restaurant employees are required to wash their hands after touching dogs
• Restaurants reserve the right to refuse to serve an owner if the owner “fails to exercise reasonable control over the pet dog” or if the dog acts in a manner that compromises the health or safety of others
• Employees of restaurants must not allow dogs to come into contact with dining utensils, plates and other equipment
• Patrons are required to keep their dogs on leashes no longer than six feet
• Dogs are not allowed on chairs, tables or other furnishings
• Accidents involving dog waste must be cleaned up and sanitized immediately. Restaurants are required to keep cleaning kits near outdoor areas for this purpose
• Restaurants allowing pets in outdoor dining areas are required to post a sign that outlines applicable rules.