Nowadays more than ever, Americans consider their pets to be bona fide members of the family, but there are still many places outside of home where our beloved animals are treated as second-class citizens. Though it may come as a surprise to some that it is against the law, restaurants in California are currently prohibited from allowing pet dogs to join their owners in outdoor dining areas.
Now, however, new legislation which passed the state Assembly last week is on its way to giving cuddly canines a seat at the table.
The bill AB 1965 would give restaurants the right to allow dog-owners to join them on patio seating areas if they so choose, overturning a longstanding prohibition in the California Retail Food Code. Any pets would need to be on a leash or in a carrier, and restaurant owners could still decide not to accommodate dogs. Under the law in place now, establishments that permitted live animals in their dining areas face citations and fines.
While the bill still needs to pass the state Senate, Judie Mancuso of the animal rights group Social Compassion in Legislation says its time has come, calling the current ban "outdated".