Texas bill allows dogs in outdoor dining areas

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — People will now be able to dine with their furry friend’s thanks to a new bill signed by Governor Greg Abbott.

“It’s real popular in this day and age for people to bring their pets with them everywhere,” Anthony Spanel, Environmental Health Director for the City of Amarillo, stated.

Senate Bill 476, also known as the Fido Friendly Dining Act, went into effect September 1.

“The way everything’s going you’re taking your pet everywhere you go now,” Bray Goodheart, Manager at House Divided Restaurants & Grill, explained.

The bill allows people to take their dogs with them to outdoor dining areas.

“Essentially what Senate Bill 476 did is made dogs on outside patios legal for anybody you don’t have to go through the variance process,” Spanel explained.

Some local restaurants are already exercising the use of a pet-friendly patio.

“We’re way ahead of the curb we already do that. We have quite a few pups that come in,” Goodheart said.

The manager at House Divided said he is not concerned about sanitation, as long as everyone is following the rules.

“You’re having an outdoor barbeque on the patio, your pets are there it’s no different,” Goodheart said.

Dogs must be leashed, well mannered, and must go through the patio entrance. They will not be allowed inside the establishment at any time.

“I take my dogs with me everywhere I go and so they’re just like little kids to me. I don’t see any health risks especially if you’re keeping them on a leash and abiding by the rules,” Goodheart stated.

According to Spanel, a restaurant still has the option to refuse services.

“It’s an establishment’s right to say no we don’t want to allow dogs on our patios,” Spanel said.

This law does not affect service dogs in any way and an establishment can not turn away a service dog.

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