Food and drink — and Fido

A Yorkshire terrier prepares to dine. (Photo: Olesia Bilkei via Shutterstock)

Fido and Fluffy will soon be able to join you for dinner at your favorite restaurant — legally.

The governor signed legislation Thursday that allows people to take their dogs with them to the patios and outdoor sections of restaurants — something that many eateries already are doing but which has been illegal and carries penalties for violators. The new law, AB 1965 by termed-out Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, takes effect Jan. 1.

“We are trying to address the widespread practice that local governments have already started to recognize, but unfortunately are still in violation of state law,”  Yamada said earlier while her bill was still moving through the Legislature with nearly no opposition.

Under California law, it’s illegal to allow dining with dogs, except in cases of “working” dogs, such as seeing-eye dogs that assist the blind. Yamada’s bill  allows any dog to sit outside with its owner. It doesn’t require restaurants to allow the pets to the outdoor dining areas, but if they, the establishment won’t be subject to citations.

Judie Mancuso, the president of the nonprofit animal welfare organization Social Compassion in Legislation, had approached Yamada about sponsoring the bill. Her sister is Napa Valley College Board of Trustee Mary Ann Mancuso, who said her son takes their two pups out to eat out quite a bit.

“Of course, I’m always happy to be there at lunch sitting in the company of somebody else’s furry friend,” Mancuso said in an earlier interview. “In Napa, we have several restaurants that welcome pet owners to bring their little friends to dine on outside patios and various designated areas.”


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