Today is OFFICIALLY the greatest day that ever was because now adorable puppies and poochies of all persuasions will be able to join their human companions in outdoor restaurants and bars. This morning, Governor Cuomo signed into law the "Dining with Dogs" bill, sponsored by assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal this spring. The new law ditches the archaic and species-biased ordinance that previously excluded dogs from sharing outdoor space with dining humans. Effective today, any restaurant that wishes may permit pups in their patio, sidewalk or backyard spaces.
Over the summer, the Health Department tried to put the kibosh on the bill, saying it would "create a risk to the health and safety of diners, restaurant workers and other dogs." In Los Angeles, however, which passed a similar bill in 2012, there was "no increase in the number of animal on person incidents or complaints related to dogs in restaurants reported to the LA County Department of Health" according to Rosenthal's team, who were assisted by a California-based animal welfare organization to pass New York's legislation. We reached out to the DOH to see if they had further comment regarding today's momentous mutt victory and we'll update if we hear back.
Since it's only been a few hours since the bill has been signed into law, most restaurants are likely to take some time to decide whether they're fido friendly. But Pamela Blackwell, owner of the vegan Blossom empire, is an early adopter. "As a restaurant owner, animal lover, and lifelong New Yorker, I am thrilled to finally be able to welcome guests AND their animal companions to dine with us," she said in a statement. Luckily—in addition to their delicious cruelty-free fare—they're the largest vegan chain in the city and recently added an additional Union Square location. Fido Approved.
Update: The Health Department released the following statement regarding the new law: "The Food and Drug Administration recommends that animals be excluded from restaurants as they can create a risk to the health and safety of diners, restaurant workers, and other dogs. We will work to establish rules that will ensure the safety of the public and restaurant patrons."