04/18/2013 11:18 am ET

Michigan Dog Restaurant Bill: Proposed Legislation Would Allow Canines In Outdoor Dining Areas

AP/The Commercial Appeal, Karen Pulfer Focht

Dogs may soon have a really good reason for wagging their tails around Michigan restaurants.

On Thursday, the Michigan House Tourism committee will be considering House Bill 4335, proposed legislation that would allow pet owners to bring their canines into the outdoor dining areas of restaurants. It would only apply to situations where health and safety hazards would not result from a dog's presence or activities. The bill would also give local municipalities the opportunity to adopt stricter ordinances on the subject.

The presence of dogs in these outdoor seating sections is not currently permitted under state law. However, service animals assisting persons with disabilities are permitted.

The bill is being sponsored by state Rep. Margaret O'Brien (R-Portage). She told MLive that she believed the proposed legislation would make Michigan a more appealing tourist destination.

“Pets have become quite the travel companions,” she said. “We just want to make sure Michigan has one more tool in the tool belt.”

The proposed legislation has prompted a lively discussion on the Facebook page of Canine To Five, a Detroit dog daycare, boarding and grooming facility.

"I've been waiting for this," said commenter Penelope Thompson. "When I lived in Europe, I traveled everywhere with my dogs, they just laid under the dinner table with their bowl of water, relaxing. It's so much nicer to be able to do and enjoy outdoor [restaurants], without feeling such an outcast having your dog with you."

Linda Cowles, however didn't agree with her sentiment. "Please - nothing personal," she said, "but I don't want to eat with your dog, cat, snake, or any other animal. Or anyone elses [sic]."


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