In New York, dogs can take the witness stand at a criminal trial. But at least in New York City, they’re not allowed to go into bars.
NYC regulators recently banned dogs from bars, even those with outdoor seating areas and those that serve only beverages:
[I]t has always been a violation of the city’s health code to allow a dog anywhere near a beer tap. But for years, this has been one of the most widely — and gleefully — violated rules in the city.
Not any more.
Since the health department adopted a letter grade system for bars and restaurants last year, bar owners say, health inspectors are allowing no wiggle room for four-legged patrons….
During inspections, many owners said they were surprised to learn that dogs were not allowed even in outdoor seating areas. Neither does a bar’s dearth of actual food products provide any cover. “Beer, wine and spirits have always been classified as food,” a department spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail. Only service dogs are permitted in spaces that serve food or drink of any kind.
As Thom Lambert points out, this is a ridiculous regulation. Dogs near food service areas do pose some risks. But as anyone who has a dog and a kitchen at home knows, they are fairly easy to minimize. More fundamentally, most people can readily understand the (very small) risks involved and decide for themselves whether they want to patronize a dog-friendly bar or not. Market incentives can and do supply plenty of dog-free watering holes for those who don’t want to take the risk of guzzling beer near canines, or simply don’t like dogs.
As long as the dog is at least three years old (21 in dog years) what’s the problem? If you train them right they make good designated drivers.