Bill allowing leashed dogs on restaurant decks awaits governor’s signature

In Delaware, dogs are not expected to have a place on tables or chairs. (Pixabay photo)

Acting with the speed that comes when the Speaker of the Delaware House likes to take the family pet to breakfast at a restaurant, the General Assembly last week passed legislation that ends an unenforced ban on dogs on patios or decks.

House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach sponsored the legislation which came after the Delaware Division of Public Health pointed out last year that health codes barred dogs from the outside areas.

The division agreed to not enforce the rules in anticipation of legislation. Once the bill is signed, the Divison of public health will issue regulations that take into health and sanitation, but do not violate the intent of the bill. Dogs are expected to remain on a leash while not being allowed to sit at tables.

Dogs had become a popular future on decks and patios, with management offering water bowls for the thirsty visitors and even promoting their dog-friendliness. Online guides also listed dog-friendly restaurants.

The bill passed both houses with only State Sen. Bryant Richardson, R-Seaford recording a no vote. Two legislators were absent.

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