Hawaii may allow dogs in restaurants

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Hawaiian pet owners who really love dining with their canine best friends may be in luck: Legislation has been introduced that would allow restaurants to decide whether or not to allow dogs inside. According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, these proposals “would allow a change in state health codes so that a restaurant owner or manager can allow dogs in their restaurants, providing that certain conditions are met.”

That list of conditions, however, is long. Granted, once you let animals inside your restaurant, there are a lot of health codes to consider. On the (extensive) list:

  • The dog shall not disturb or interact with other patrons or dogs, except by invitation
  • The dog shall be housebroken (we certainly hope so)
  • Food service employees will be prohibited from having direct contact with a dog while on duty (ditto)

Seems like a lot of hoops to go through to get pets in restaurants, but some people clearly believe these efforts are worth it. Some are already using an ADA loophole that allows their pets to post as service dogs to get them inside. Several states already allow dogs on restaurant patios, and Virginia recently passed a bill to allow dogs in breweries and wine-tasting rooms. The Hawaii bills are now in committee, and were preceded by an online petition with more than 3,200 signatures of dog fans who apparently felt strongly about the possibility of being able to take their pets out to dinner.