No restaurant dog crackdown planned as health officials issue best practices memo

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In Delaware, dogs are not allowed on tables or chairs. (Pixabay photo)

The Delaware Division of Public Health has issued a “best practices” memo after dog owners barked back over news that the presence of canines on restaurant decks violates state regulations.

The division again noted that dogs can carry diseases, with animal waste requiring frequent cleaning of dining areas.

The division says it will not undertake strict enforcement of no dog rules on restaurant decks and patios, pending further discussions.

Best practices outlined by the division include:

  • Separate access to outdoor areas for pets.
  • Dogs not being barred from bar areas, although customers with dogs should not be seated at the bar.
  • Signs that inform customers of the possible presence of dogs.
  • Restaurants should have written policies in place regarding the cleaning of floor surfaces that might have dog waste products.
  • Barring dogs that are not on a leash andbanning unruly canines.
  • Banning dogs from chairs or tables.
  • Banning dogs from drinking from restaurant dishes or glasses. Disposable bowls should not be placed on tables.
  • Making sure employees wash hands if coming into contact with dogs.

A social media post by the Division of Public Health on regulations banning dogs touched off a controversy, with howls of outrage from dog lovers and others expressing support for a dog ban.

The ban on dogs had not been enforced as the popularity of outdoor dining has grown in Delaware. Online sites go so far as to list dog-friendly restaurants.

Among those feeling the effects of the regulations was Delaware House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, who reported that the family dog accompanied him to breakfast.

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