COLUMBUS—State Representative Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) has introduced legislation to allow Ohio restaurants owners to open their patios to canine customers and their owners.
Lanese introduced House Bill 263 after hearing from constituents who recently discovered that it was illegal for them to bring their dogs to local restaurant patios despite having done so previously on many occasions. Local businesses were also surprised to learn about the law after hosting popular pet-friendly events at their establishments without realizing it was illegal.
“This legislation gives businesses the freedom to decide for themselves whether or not to allow dogs on their patios,” Lanese said. “It is also a recognition of the importance of animals in our lives. We already have pet-friendly hotels, pet-friendly parks, and pet-friendly events. It’s a good opportunity for marketing our state as pet-friendly for tourism purposes as many travelers want to bring their pets along with them while they travel.”
House Bill 263 will only apply to outdoor eating areas, meaning dogs will still be prohibited from coming inside the restaurant unless they are a service animal. According to Lanese, sanitary protections will also be put in place for patio dining areas to protect public health.
Many states already permit restaurant owners to adopt their own pet policy, including California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Georgia, New York, Rhode Island and Tennessee. Similar legislation is also being considered by the Michigan state legislature.
House Bill 263 now awaits assignment to a House committee where it will receive further consideration.