Lawmaker wants to let Texans take pooches with them to restaurant patios

This is Lorenzo, a bullmastif. (Karsten Moran/The New York Times)
This is Lorenzo, a bullmastif. (Karsten Moran/The New York Times) NYT

Love to have lunch with man’s best friend?

A Tarrant County lawmaker wants to make sure that lunch — any meal, actually — is possible.

State Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, has filed a bill to let Texans take their dogs with them when they dine in outdoor areas such as patios.

“On a nice day, there’s not much that beats finding an outdoor patio and enjoying a meal with friends or family,” he said in a statement.

“For many Texans, dogs are part of the family and restaurants that want to welcome them in outside areas should be able to do that without having to worry about extra expenses and over-the-top government regulations.”

Many restaurants with outside seating already let customers bring their furry friends with them, but some cities have put restrictions in place requiring these businesses to pay fees, have extra inspections, apply for dog variances and more, Hancock said.

So he filed Senate Bill 476, fashioned after city rules already in place in Austin, to let a restaurant allow customers with their leashed dogs to dine in outside areas if there are signs posted allowing it. There must be no food preparation taking place in the outside area. And the dog must be well behaved and not get on seats, tables or counters.

Texas lawmakers have until the end of their legislative session, May 27, to pass bills. If passed, it would go into effect Sept. 1.

Oakland Firefighters rescue three puppies from a building fire in California. Video shows the firefighters carrying the dogs out and administering oxygen masks to the puppies.

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.