Bill could allow dogs into some parts of restaurants

FERNDALE (WXYZ) - Eddie and Samantha Hillery like to dine at Rosie Grady's in Ferndale because it is one of a few local places that allow them to bring pets.

"I like taking our dogs where ever we go and I don't feel guilty about going out to eat and leaving them home alone," said Samantha Hillery. "Especially if we have been working all day and then I don't have to cook dinner and they can be with us."

The restaurant sections off an area for those with dogs so that patrons who do not want to be around them, do not have to.

Managers told 7 Action News they have a strict policy.

"Just like with patrons if they were disrespectful or unruly we would ask that they go also. So we have the same rules that apply with the dogs," said Jennifer Clotworthy, the restaurant's general manager.

State representative Margaret O'Brien, (R) Portage, is hoping for a law that will allow municipalities to decide whether dogs could be allowed on the patio of restaurants.

Meghan Swain, executive director of the Michigan Association for Local Public Health has some concerns about the bill, which was introduced in February.

"From the public health perspective of food service workers or mainly wait staff coming in contact with the dogs and making sure that they are using proper hand washing-- they're not supposed to be touching the animals," said Swain.

Aside from sanitary issues, there is also public safety and insurance concerns in the event of a dog bite.

"This isn't like having the little teacup dog at the little side café," said Swain.  "This is you know, someone brings their Rottweiler to the BW3s."

The association is working with state lawmakers on the wording of the bill.

Meanwhile, the Hillerys think the law would boost local business.

"I think it would, because people love their dogs," said Eddie Hillery. "Especially in the summertime-- they want to be with their dogs and most people are good dog owners so their dogs don't bother anybody."

The bill would not go to a vote in the State House of Representatives until sometime this fall.

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