Dogs Now Legal on Restaurant Patios in Nashville



Though we've all seen (and perhaps welcomed) dogs in restaurants' outdoor dining spaces, it has technically been illegal in Nashville. Until now.

As City Paper colleague Joey Garrison reports, Metro Council has voted, by an overwhelming margin, to legalize the presence of dogs on restaurant patios.

The move was made possible by a new state law that says municipalities with populations greater than 100,000 may pass bills allowing the presence of dogs in outside eating areas.

In Nashville, the council leaves it up to businesses to decide whether they want to admit doggie diners. If so, the restaurant must pay $20 for a Metro health permit.

However, the law includes a lot of rules for dogs in restaurants, outlined below.

• Restaurant employees are required to wash their hands after touching dogs.

• Restaurants reserve the right to refuse to serve an owner if the owner “fails to exercise reasonable control over the pet dog” or if the dog acts in a manner that compromises the health or safety of others.

• Employees of restaurants must not allow dogs to come into contact with dining utensils, plates and other equipment.

• Patrons are required to keep their dogs on leashes no longer than six feet.

• Dogs are not allowed on chairs, tables or other furnishings.

• Accidents involving dog waste must be cleaned up and sanitized immediately. Restaurants are required to keep cleaning kits near outdoor areas for this purpose.

• Restaurants allowing pets in outdoor dining areas are required to post a sign that outlines applicable rules.

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