New rules do not require restaurants to check if a dog is licensed and vaccinated

Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, law’s author, praises the new rules

March 15, 2016 – The Health Department today finalized rules on the “Dining with Dogs” legislation passed by the State Legislature last session. The law – sponsored by Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal – authorizes restaurants to allow pet dogs in certain defined outdoor dining areas. The law allowed municipalities to establish rules and enforce the new measures.

“The health and safety of every New Yorker is our priority,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “These new rules ensure that restaurant patrons can bring their dogs to outdoor areas, while also keeping other diners protected. The new regulations will be applied fairly and enforced with the public’s health in mind.”

“I’m so pleased that the City Department of Health threw dog lovers a bone,” said Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal. “These proposed regulations are common sense measures designed to protect the public health while allowing New Yorkers to dine with their dogs. With the warm weather upon us, I am certain New Yorkers will be thrilled.”

The new rules clarify that restaurants allowing dogs in outdoor areas must post a sign to alert customers that dogs must be licensed and vaccinated against rabies, as required for all New York City dogs. Restaurants will not be required to verify that a dog has its paperwork in order. Only those restaurants participating in dining with dogs must post a sign. Restaurants must also use barriers or other methods to limit contact between dogs in the outdoor dining area and dogs and people on an adjacent sidewalk. The Health Department will issue further guidance on effective strategies for separating dogs who have joined diners from passersby. These new rules do not change the existing requirement that restaurants must accommodate service dogs.

The proposed rules were subject to a public comment period in January 2016. The rule will be effective 30 days after publication, and be implemented in time for the start of the outdoor dining season.

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