In a unanimous 8-0 vote, the Long Beach City Council has voted to give restaurants the authority to allow pet dogs to accompany their owners dining on restaurant outdoor patios.
The motion was authored by 1st District Councilmember Robert Garcia and cosponsored by Vice-Mayor Suja Lowenthal and 3rd District Councilmember Gary DeLong.
Currently, dogs other than service animals are legally prohibited from entering eating establishments in Long Beach, including outdoor restaurant patios. The new legislation leaves the decision up to individual businesses to allow dogs on their outdoor patios as long as certain conditions are met to ensure the health and safety of the public.
“Allowing pet dogs on outdoor restaurant patios creates community and a dining experience for all members of the family, including the four-legged ones,” said Garcia, whose district includes parts of the downtown dining and entertainment area. “This new policy encourages healthy living, promotes business and builds community.”
In December 2011, Los Angeles County approved a policy to allow pet dogs to dine with their owners on restaurant patios. The County of Los Angeles Environmental Health Department assessed the risk factors involved in the allowance of pet dogs in outdoor dining areas and, after an extensive review of supporting data, they made changes to allow pet dogs on outdoor patios. LA County restaurants now have the option to allow pet dogs on their outdoor patios. Long Beach has its own health department and must adopt any health policy changes independently.
Lowenthal’s Second District shares the downtown dining district, and Councilmember Gary DeLong’s district, which includes the Belmont Shore neighborhood, is home to many dining establishments.
“This is a common-sense way to increase quality of life and economic activity,” Lowenthal said. “And it falls in line with our efforts to promote an active, outdoor lifestyle in Long Beach by enabling residents and their dogs to be together.”
“Many residents, particularly in Belmont Shore, have requested the ability to bring their dogs onto outdoor patios,” added DeLong. “I look forward to trying out this concept and receiving feedback from local residents after it’s implemented.”
The Council motion directs the city manager to “work with the Health Department to craft a policy that gives restaurant owners the flexibility to allow pet dogs on outdoor restaurant patios and return back to Council in 90 days with the proposed new policy.”
Restaurants will still be able to prohibit pets if they choose to.
Source: Councilmember Garcia’s office