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Councilman working on ordinance to permit dogs into outside dining venues

By Staff | May 7, 2011

DREW WINCHESTER Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz sits with his dog Boots outside city hall on Thursday. Boots, who is 5-1/2 years old, is a member of PAWS — Pets are Working Saints — as a therapy dog that visits nursing homes and children’s programs. Boots is also a rescue dog.

Dan Ramage said he used to allow dogs onto the patio of his Lazy Dog Bar and Grille before realizing the city didn’t have an ordinance to allow it.
Customers enjoyed it, he said, so it was disappointing to them when he had to suspend the practice, but Ramage got some good news when he heard one council member was going to help make sure that four- legged friends were always welcome on the patio of the Lazy Dog.
“We’re excited by the fact that we’re going to be able to let people do it again. They were really disappointed when we told them they couldn’t do it,” Ramage said.
Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz is working to bring the item forward, setting up a $75 permit fee to allow canines in the outdoor dining areas of local restaurants.
Chulakes-Leetz said the law already exists on a state level, but that it is up to individual counties and municipalities to make the practice legal locally.
“We’re simply coming in line with the state statutes,” he said. “It’s nothing new, just making it so what our businesses have been doing, they can continue doing.”
Ramage said he would have no issue with paying the $75 permit fee, as he would easily make that back by the number of people who would frequent his establishment with their pooch pals.
“It’s just part of doing business. If you’re going to sell liquor then you need a liquor license,” Ramage said.
Like Ramage, Leapin’ Lizard owner Mary Ann Evans said they have allowed dogs on both of their outdoor dining areas for some time, and that paying the permit fee would not be a problem.
She said a large number of her customers, and even a large number of Cape residents, are European, where there are fewer restrictions on where you pack your pooch.
Leapin Lizard offers pooch and pooch-free dining, Evans said, and making it legal would be good for people who just want to pop in for an easy lunch.
“Some people might have their dogs with them and want to stop by for lunch but not have to drive all the way home,” Evans said. “We’ve always been pet friendly and people have very mannerly dogs.”
Chulakes-Leetz said it is important for the city to put its “best paw forward” with the ordinance, which should be part of city council workshop on May 23 and voted on June 6.
With a large contingent of city council members being dog owners themselves, he said he think there will be the necessary support.
“Six members of our council own 18 dogs total, so I think there would be a preponderance of support,” he said.