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Some Lawmakers Want To Allow Dogs At Outdoor Restaurants

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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.

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