Some Lawmakers Want To Allow Dogs At Outdoor Restaurants

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — There’s a new idea to increase business for restaurants across Maryland.  Some state lawmakers want to allow diners to eat with their dogs—if they’re outside.

Adam May reports some restaurants have been quietly doing it anyway.

Right now, a handful of restaurants with outdoor seating allow people to bring their dogs.  Technically, those restaurants are breaking the law—but maybe not for long.

Around Baltimore, a lot of dogs are used in restaurant marketing, but when it comes to mealtime, man’s best friend is usually forced to stay home.

“Whenever we travel, we take them with us.  We’ve had dogs for years; they’re part of the family,” said William Wysocki.

Some dog owners hope their pets get European-style rights.

“I spent some time in Austria and everyone had dogs with them.  You’d look over and see the dogs next to you,” said Jessica Morrison.

On Wednesdays, dogs and owners can stop at Shuckers in Fells Point for “Yappy Hour,” where pet owners get 20 percent off.

“When the weather’s nice, you can bring dogs down.  We bring out water and treats for the dog,” said Andy Rosenthal, Shuckers owner.

But an old state law actually prohibits dogs at eateries, even outside.  Now there’s a bill under consideration in Annapolis to reverse that.

“I’m 100% for it,” said Bruce Bodie.

Bodie, who owns Mt. Vernon’s City Cafe, also allows people to dine with their dogs al fresco.  He was unaware that dogs weren’t technically allowed.

“I think if dog owners know where the restaurant and law stands in the future, it would be very good for dogs and dog lovers, and very good business,” Bodie said.

The bill has a couple of supporters, but it has a long way to go in the General Assembly.

Restaurants can face fines if health departments enforce the law. 

For a list of pet-friendly restaurants, click here.

  • Laura


    Leave the dogs at home. Not going to a place with dogs outside.

    • Neil

      Leave tke kids home and bring the dogs.

      • blahblahlaura

        You are right Neil.. To be honest with you I see so many kids that are out of control and running around restaurants and parents don’t correct them at all. I would rather dine at a restaurant where dogs are allowed then deal with kids who are out of control.

      • Ashley

        Neil – So true!!

  • bernard mc kernan

    Leave both kids & dogs plus the a…hole legislator who’s idea was to pass this goofy s…..t Dogs in my community bark all day poop on lawns, get into the trash, fight like hell among one another all the while the owners look on & do squat.

    • rajdai motielal

      I agree with bernard mc kernan 100%

  • Herman Glimsher



  • ratm33

    Neil I bet you would like to bring a sheep too wouldent you.

    • Neil

      I bet you like kids!

  • gibo

    r u kiddin me…is this all we have to worry about is if we can take r dog 2 a resturant..set serious..what about the frikken gas prices..what abour all of that oit buried out in the mid western states…wake uo america!!!!!!!!

  • P Schweitzer

    Bring on the dogs. Something new needs to happen in this ever so boring town. Am sick of people who go out to bar / restaurants and now there is no smoking, no cigars, of course, no pets…often too many kids, but I can handle it. For all those that don’t want any of the above, I wish people would make places just for you. Then you could all be boring together and leave everyone else who wants to have fun alone.

    • bernard F Mc Kernan

      P. Schweitzer, You sound like a young person & as young people often do, they tend to make poor decisions based on their lack of experience. So, I have a suggestion for you. Have a lot of kids, surround your self with a lot of dogs & you will be so broke & going crazy soon that you will kill either just to get away to a bar to drink your miserable self into oblivion. Better yet, you stay home with all of the above & let us who paid our dues enjoy.

  • Ashley

    Leave all these ignorant and stupid people commenting on this at home. Bring the dogs!

    • bernard F Mc Kernan

      Ashley, Ok juice head & I’ll expect the dogs or owners to pick up the tab for lost revenue.

      • blahblahlaura

        Bernard .. it is so funny. You are putting down everyone’s comment and saying that P Schweitzer is making poor decisions b/c he is “young”… He is just not as uptight are you are. IN fact it is funny how you are downing everybody who doesn’t agree with you.. Last time I checked, this was a public forum and anybody could comment. YOU are not the only one w/ an opinion but you certainly seem ready to jump on anyone who doesn’t agree w/ you.. I’m w/ P.S.. You need to chill dude.. relax..

  • Mary P - Brooklyn

    If they allow children, they should allow dogs too. Some places will allow dogs & some won’t – patronize the ones you want to. Like people who are disruptive, cafes will ask disruptive pets to leave as well. Service animals are already allowed in any public place & don’t cause problems. We stopped patronizing any place that had a smoking section (indoors or out) years ago. I’d rather sit next to a dog than a screaming kid, a smoker or a bunch of drunks!

    Not all dogs are unruly and not all dog owners are irresponsible. My dogs are well behaved, never off lead in a public place & I carry “clean up” materials with me at all times.

  • eastsider


  • Lisa S.

    This is the best news I’ve had all week. Our dogs are more well-behaved than most people’s children. They sit under the table, quietly, they do not bark nor beg. They wait patiently and this makes it easier for us to support local businesses while we have our dogs out. My first job in a restaurant was as a bus person 30+ years ago. Ignorant diners would come into this mid-range restaurant in the D.C. area and parents would give their children crackers to break up and spread all over the floor, like they were pigs. It was disgusting. They still do. As long as dog owners are respectful, and maintain their dogs with control, I think it is fabulous!

  • Mark Mangus Sr

    I notice you didn’t say who the moron politicians are.

  • petfriend

    If the law is to allow the restaurants who cater to these folks with their dogs to continue to do so, then why is that a problem for anyone? If it makes all restaurants with outdoor areas allow dogs, then that would be worng. Owners should have the right to choose whether patrons bring their pets in their establishments and those who don’t want to be around dogs can go elsewhere. To each his own in this case.

  • Cathy

    I cannot wait till theypass that law, if kids are allowed ans what do they do screem, cry.and run all around and half the time their parents dont care.pets are our family to, and if they are well behavedmmake sure they have rabie tags and on a leash etc,they should be allowed to eat,if I had enough money I would open up a place where pets could eat.

  • bernard F Mc Kernan

    Pets have fleas, lick & scratch their balls, go crazy when other dogs are present. Kids are noisy but do none of the above

    • phyllis

      What and you don’t????? hahahahaha

  • Poochy's Mom

    Kids throw things all over the floor, ie cups, food and toys. They also scream at the top of there lungs to get attention and they smell. Diapers in the bathroom for starters, I saw a woman change her son and leave the dirty diaper on the sink. How gross. Also the pets would be outside so do you realize that fleas live outside and travel from animal to animal along with mites. So are you going to ban the birds outside as well because they carry more “bugs” than most dogs. The licking and scratching thing, well lets be honest how many times have you seen a man scratch himself in public. I give you the licking part can be gross but so can the man or woman picking there nose or even coughing. So are you going to limit the others? Your arguments are slightly lacking actual issues.

  • Ken

    I cannot believe this is even a topic for discussion. What about the associated Health issues. Our lawmakers have all lost it. The economy is in the toilet with unemployment at double digit rates and all they have to discuss is sh@t like this. Unbelievable………

    • CHAS


  • demo65

    dogs in or on restaurant property is unsanitary period! gurantee business failure, next they will be wandering in the kitchen and chef will be petting them and cooking your flea infested, genital licking food. then you know what next, some a—hole is gonna stick a fork in their steak and hold it under the table for barky to have a taste too. all dog lovers can’t be that stupid,…. or can they?
    next, doggy meals, puppy meals, doggy rest rooms in the corner and dog fights, hell why not just give them the keys and let them drive home.

  • Monica

    More restaurants than you want to know about are unsanitary in the kitchen. I used to work in the kitchen of a fast food place & we had maggots crawling up the wall in the back room, flies that got in and people sprayed supposedly safe fly spray at them in the kitchen, stuff just dipped in cold water “sanitizer” that was “clean” and I don’t know how many times people dropped stuff & it still got served or people stole snacks off the line w/ their hands. It was a big joke, a burger fell on the floor and it was tossed back on the grill to “sanitize” it and then on a ben it went & into someone’s stomach. No, it was not right, but it happens every day in every place from fast food to expensive restaurants. Do you really know what the chef or server scratched or licked before s/he touched your food???

    Dogs have been allowed at outdoor cafes in many countries in Europe for years- no hassles & people are not dropping like flies. The health issue is what happens in the kitchen and if the utensils are properly cleaned & stored & it’s not like dogs will be allowed in kitchens.

    Restaurants already have special kid meals & accomodations in the john & I don’t know anyone who hasn’t had their dinner ruined by kids that scream, cry, fight, throw food, run around or spit up & load up a diaper at the table. Dogs are no worse than little kids & some adults and they never get drunk & then drive home, so you may be onto something w/ that doggy drtiving thing LOL!



  • demo65

    i knew it. here we have yet another fool who goes and compares a dog to a human life. no matter how evil, bad, inconsiderate a child or adult is, it is still above the level of a dog. only one exception and that is if the adult is a male who abuses women and or children. other than that, poochie is expendable so stop trying to force everyone to treat them like humans. they are not. don’t deliberately harm them but have more respect for human life. I don’t hate dogs. by the way, what is the purpose for having a dog in a restaurant, other than a seeing eye dog?

  • Monica

    They are talking about outdoor dining, not inside the restaurant. People walk by with their dogs, but cannot patronize the restaurant. It is very commion in other countries for sidewalk cafes to allow dogs & it has always been that way. You also need to realize many people like their dogs better than kids and many dogs are better behaved than kids are. Restaurants should be able to chose if they would like to allow patrons w/ dogs to eat at their outdoor facilities & I would assume most would have a special section for the diners w/ dogs. People who are so into their dogs that they want to take them out to restaurants w/ them have probably trained them well & keep them clean. You show your ignorance by saying “seeing eye dog” as if they were the only service dogs. People w/ all sorts of disabilities use service animals, not just the blind. They have been allowed in public places for a number of years now and what problems are they causing???

    The purpose of having a dog at an OUTDOOR restaurant is that the owner likes their dog and choses to dine with it in addition to or instead of people. You don’t like dogs? – fine move to another table, eat somewhere else or don’t sit in the dog section. We have to do that all the time when someone w/ loud ill mannered children sits near us & we do not patronize more kid friendly restaurants as we prefer a quiet atmosphere wheer we can converse. We don’t go to ones w/ loud bars & TVs in or near the dining room either.

    There is a nice liitle restaurant near me with an outdoor patio and we would go there a lot more if we could take our dogs.

  • demo65

    That restaurant with the outdoor patio is happy with your choice to dine elsewhere with your dog. you mention children. what about those children that are frightened by your dog. should they be forced to dine in fear? regardless of why they are fearful. they have a right to be fearful of a wild animal. you know, what about my snake can it dine with us and perhaps make a meal of one of your dogs. that wouldn’t be nice would it? your dog has the ability to suddenly attack also. how about the thug like patron who would like to dine with his pack of rottweilers, boxers and pitbulls. sure they’re not attack dogs, they’re just misunderstood. humans don’t come in dogs houses or owner’s yards to eat do they or should we prepare a bill for that. it is time to stop being foolish with the dog thing.

  • Jim

    To all those who think the dogs will behave badly at a restaurant (outdoors) and attack other customers…the law would certainly not trump the animal control laws that say owners must control their pets in public. If the pet owner is not a responsible owner, then he/she will pay the consequences. As to getting hair in your food, if you eat outside you are liable to get all sorts of nasty “things” in your food with the wind.

  • Grandma

    I’m all for it, as long as the animals are well behaved & owners are in control. Most times pets are more well behaved than kids!!!

  • Ken

    Pit Bull…need I say more?



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