The city council has taken up the pets on the patio issue for restaurants.
For those of you in favor of allowing dogs on restaurant patios go to this link and send the council a note saying you support item #28 on their agenda.
Here is an excerpt from the Austin Small Business Alliance on the issue:
AIBA is supporting several members’ efforts to continue to allow dogs on their outdoor patios and an ordinance that is on this week’s City Council agenda that would allow them to do so. This is an important issue because many of our members cater to dog owners and have built a following of canine patrons and their owners. Only recently has the Austin/Travis County health department begun to crack down on these restaurants, docking them critical points in their health code inspections.
You can show your support for the ordinance being proposed by Council Members Jennifer Kim, Brewster McCracken and Lee Leffingwell by stopping by City Hall this Thursday and signing in as a supporter of Item #28 (see below) or you can e-mail the City Council a letter of support by following this link (make sure to reference support for "Item 28" or "Pets on the Patio" in your subject heading) http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/council/groupemail.htm
28. Approve an ordinance amending Chapter 10-3 of the City Code relating to food and food handlers to permit dogs in outdoor dining areas of food service establishments.
And from the Austin American Statesman:
IN THE NEWS
Patrons pushing for paws on patio
Change in city law would let restaurant customers bring their dogs outside
By Asher Price
Saturday, February 11, 2006
At what was billed as a "press conFURence" Friday, Council Member Jennifer Kim announced she will push a change to city law that will allow restaurants to welcome leashed dogs back on their patios.
Under current city and county rules, dogs are not permitted at restaurants unless they are patrol or guide dogs.
Restaurants that persist in allowing dogs on their patios – and there are a few around town – risk losing a "critical point " in a health inspection, according to Austin/Travis County health department officials. Critical points are reserved for violations that may lead to disease transmission, but losing one point doesn’t automatically lead to a failing score on its own.
Kim, who announced the move at Opal Divine’s, a dog-friendly eatery on West Sixth Street, said that under the new policy, restaurants could choose whether to permit dogs on their patios. She said she will propose the move at next week’s council meeting.
"I don’t believe they are a health risk," said Kim, who was accompanied by a Pekingese named Sammy and a bearded collie-wheaten terrier mix named Einstein. "We’re not allowing dogs indoors, just where customers are unprotected from the elements anyway."
"It’s a quality-of-life question," Stephen Mason, a 29 year-old lawyer who likes to go to restaurants with Hotard, his rat terrier (named after his College Station dorm).
"Dogs carry a lot fewer dangerous diseases than the grackles, and if you let dogs on the patio, they scare off the grackles," Mason said.
The change has the support of the Austin Independent Business Alliance, said Melissa Miller, its director.
"This is a serious issue for some of our members," Miller said. Catering to dog owners is an "important niche market."
Some business owners said they support a rule change that would allow customers to decide whether to patronize dog-friendly restaurants.
Opal Divine’s has gathered 800 signatures from customers who want to bring their dogs to the restaurant’s patio, manager Chet Butler said.
"It rubs my fur the wrong way," said Fred Nelson, the owner of Freddie’s Place on South First Street of the current city prohibition of animals on his patio. "If everyone hated having poodles under the table, then we wouldn’t allow poodles under the table.
"It’s not really a matter of public safety," said Nelson, who confessed that two of his dogs sleep in his bed regularly.
"I try not to kiss them because I never know where their noses have been."
Thanks for reading this and please let your opinion be known to the city council
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Fidelio Dog Works