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Ohio restaurants and bars can soon have dogs on their patios. What do you think?

August 2, 2018

Ohio restaurants and bars can soon have dogs on their patios. What do you think?

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Dogs are expected to soon be a feature on outdoor restaurant and bar patios across the state.

Gov. John Kasich on Monday signed a bill that will allow the establishments, if the owners choose, to allow dogs on outdoor patios. House Bill 263 will go into effect in October. But first, the state departments of agriculture and health have to create rules to ensure food safety laws are followed. The department directors are allowed to prohibit dogs any time there is a public health emergency. The patio would have to have an outside entrance, because the bill prohibits dogs in any inside entrances.

H.B. 263 also requires establishments to have policies that specify how the dogs will be controlled, such as requiring dog owners to use leashes.

Dog owners must ensure their pups are current on vaccinations under the bill.

There were two bills permitting dogs on patios in the Ohio General Assembly – one in the Senate and H.B. 263 – which was the first to pass.

Ohio law has prohibited dogs at establishments, but legislators – many who described themselves as dog lovers -- were keen to change state law, as society has generally permitted dogs more in public.

Ohio’s communities enforced the prohibition differently. In Cleveland, dogs have been tolerated on patios more than in other parts of Ohio. City public health officials only addressed the issue when there was a complaint.

There’s no word yet from the Cleveland Department of Public Health on whether anything in the new law would change practices.

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