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Dog Dilemma: Should Restaurants Allow Pets?

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Can I come in?
Can I come in?
Photo: how_long_it_takes/Flickr

More and more restaurants across the country are allowing dogs, both on patios and inside. Or maybe people, like SF Gate's Michael Bauer, are just writing about it. In any case, two's a trend! And people have strong opinions about this one.

USA Today, somewhat oddly, only spoke to people who were in favor of dogs in restaurants. Some people might call that journalistically lazy! But what do we know, we're just a blog. In any case, the dog-lovin' restaurant owners interviewed said things like "Even people who don't bring their dogs to the winery appreciate animals and enjoy having them around" and "We've not had any dogs here that would interfere with the dining experience of people who do not have dogs. It seems highly unlikely that everyone is cool with it, but if they say so.

Meanwhile, over at SF Gate, Michael Bauer doesn't "buy the health implications of having dogs in restaurants," and commenters on his post mention that children (especially diapered babies) can be as dirty, if not dirtier, than dogs. Bauer does point out that having critters underfoot is hazardous, the issue of allergies, and says doesn't believe that "owners with less collegial pets have self-selected out," as yet another USA Today-quoted restaurant owner does. Bauer ends up making the case for "some dog-friendly restaurants," but thinks for the most part, restaurants are better off pet-free.

So, should restaurants cater to canines? Should we consider the allergic and dog-phobic? Does it matter if they're on- or off-leash? Or should we just say to hell with it, ban dogs and babies alike, and post "You Must Be This Tall to Dine" signs in front of restaurants?

· At Many Restaurants Now, You Can Take Your Dog to Dinner [USA Today]
· Do Dogs Belong in Restaurants? [ISSF]
· All Dog coverage on Eater [-E-]