The FDA is now allowing dogs in outdoor dining spaces. The famous Salty Dog Café did the same in the 1980s but changed course after dogs kept eating kids' dinners.
The US is allowing pet dogs to join their owners at outdoor dining spaces.
A spokesman from South Carolina's famous Salty Dog Café said they tried that — and later revoked it.
Dogs kept barking, fighting, and stealing hot dogs off of kids' plates, so the cafe went humans-only.
While some dog owners are thrilled with the idea of taking their dogs with them to restaurants, the famed Salty Dog Café has a word of caution: Hold onto your hot dogs.
The FDA is allowing pet dogs to join their humans in outdoor dining spaces at restaurants that permit it, a policy already adopted by nearly half of US states, The Associated Press reported.
The iconic Salty Dog Café in Hilton Head, South Carolina already tried having a dog-friendly dining space outdoors in 1987. But the policy only lasted two years after dogs kept stealing hot dogs off of little kids' plates, Tim Stearns, the Salty Dog's chief operating officer, told the AP.
"We are all dog lovers at Salty Dog, but we remain a restaurant for humans," Stearns told the outlet. The cafe maintains a dog-friendly deck where diners can order take-out from the restaurant.
The restaurant's website has a lengthy post about its no-pets-allowed policy, which "extends to all animals, including pythons, cockatoos, and monkeys, all of which have accompanied their owners to The Salty Dog Cafe."
"We quickly found out that if you allow several dogs of any variety in close proximity to each other, add children with cheeseburgers, throw in a margarita for the dog owners, then the problems can occur," the website stated. "Dogs ate off of forks and out of our plates. Some dogs barked almost continuously. Others begged for food and stole hot dogs from little kids."
The cafe placed blame on dog owners, who it said "failed to control their pets" by allowing dogs to block walkways or get into fights with other dogs.
"We do not feel that it is our responsibility to police the dog situation or to clean up after dogs. Or to referee dog fights and the chaos occurs when 2 dogs suddenly decide to attack each other in a crowded environment such as The Salty Dog Cafe," the website continued.
Salty Dog also noted its "responsibility to provide our customers with a clean, peaceful, and safe place to dine." In New York City, where restaurants have been permitted to allow pet dogs since 2015, the Department of Health has issued guidance that sheds light on the messier realities of dog-friendly dining spaces, which staffers are responsible for.
"Staff must clean up after dogs in outdoor dining areas," the guidance said. "Restaurant workers who do not prepare or serve food must clean up dog urine, feces, vomit, and any other fluids or solids, and must sanitize the areas right away."
Julie Denzin, a restaurant server from Milwaukee, told the AP that she's witnessed dogs drool and relieve themselves on outdoor patios while serving customers who may be allergic or afraid of dogs.
"It's not a matter of liking or disliking dogs," Denzin told the AP, noting she doesn't think they should be banned. "The point is, regardless of what the owner might say — no matter how perfect and obedient they insist their dog is — there's no way to ensure the safety and comfort of other guests."
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