TAMPA (WFLA) – County officials are warning restaurant owners to apply for a permit or be fined.
Haley Meek thinks a doggy dining ordinance is a great idea.
“Cause they can get more customers if they can bring their animals,” said Meek.
She said it’s a plus for pet owners who want to take their four-legged friends everywhere.
“I did take my dog everywhere. Actually, we took him to the beach,” she said. “Where I used to work we had a patio out front, so he’d come with me all the time.”
David Martin, general manager at Harold Seltzer’s Steakhouse, was encouraged by the owner to help create the law since dogs were allowed to dine at their St. Pete location.
“So, we had to petition the county to create a law to allow people to bring their dogs and come eat with them,” said Martin.
The Outdoor Dog Dining ordinance passed in 2017.
But according to county records, only a handful of businesses have applied, although dozens advertise dog-friendly online.
Code Enforcement has received a number of complaints of dogs at locations without permits.
“They should definitely go through the county to do so because the county and the health department requires you to follow specific guidelines to make sure that you’re providing a clean and friendly atmosphere for everyone around you,” said Martin.
“It’s very convenient. Especially, you’re not allowed to leave your dog in a hot car,” said Meek.
Restaurants without a permit in violation of the ordinance could receive a $500 per-instance fine for a dog on the property.
Some requirements of the Outdoor Dog Dining ordinance include:
- Restaurants must provide separate access for dogs from the outdoors
- There must be waterless hand sanitizer at every table
- Dogs cannot be on the furniture
- The establishment owner can have selected hours and days that the dogs are welcome
- The establishment owner must clearly identify the dog dining area
Interested restaurant owners can apply for a Dog Dining Permit through Pasco County Central Permitting.
The application is available here. There is a one-time $50 fee, and applications must be submitted in person at 8731 Citizens Drive in New Port Richey.