Dine with Your Dog in LA County

LOS ANGELES – Dogs and their owners are celebrating a new policy implemented by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health giving restaurants with outdoor dining areas the authority to allow dogs into these areas. The policy change was announced at the Lazy Dog Cafe in Torrance by Fourth District Supervisor Don Knabe, Public Health Director and Health Officer Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, and Lazy Dog Café Founder and President Chris Simms.

“This new policy has been a long time coming for the residents of Los Angeles County. Though it will be up to the restaurant’s discretion whether to allow dogs in its outdoor eating area, this new policy is a benefit to both small businesses and the community,” said Don Knabe, Supervisor, Fourth District. “This policy will give restaurant owners an opportunity to attract new business and to better serve their two-legged and four-legged patrons.”

“Many dog and restaurant owners advocated for this policy change, and we are pleased to support both residents and business owners with this opportunity. After carefully reviewing possible risk factors that may be associated with allowing pet dogs in outdoor dining areas, we determined policy revisions were possible,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer.

“Guidelines have been established to protect food safety and ensure safety for all patrons. We urge all dog owners to follow these guidelines in order to provide the best possible dining experience for both people and dogs.”

The new policy goes into effect immediately in Los Angeles County restaurants that are inspected by Public Health; areas not subject to this policy are Pasadena, Long Beach and Vernon.

“It has been a pleasure working with the Department of Public Health to make LA County restaurant patios more welcoming for our customers. Now man’s best friend can lounge alongside his owner, capturing the spirit of our restaurant, Lazy Dog Café – a place where guests (and their dogs) can feel at home,” said Chris Simms, Founder of Lazy Dog Café.

Guidelines for the Allowance of Pets in Outdoor Dining Areas

Pet dogs may be allowed to enter the exterior areas of a food facility’s outdoor dinning area if the following requirements are met:

  • A separate entrance is present where pets do not enter through the food establishment to reach the outdoor dining area.
  • No food preparation shall be allowed at the outdoor dining area including the dispensing/mixing of drinks and ice.
  • Customer multi-use or reusable utensils such as plates, silverware, glasses and bowls shall not be stored, displayed or pre-set at the outdoor dining area.
  • Food and water served/provided to pets shall only be in single use disposable containers.
  • Employee shall be prohibited from having direct contact with pets while on duty.
  • Pets shall not be allowed on chairs, seats, benches, and tables.
  • The outdoor dining area shall be maintained clean.
  • In cases of excrement or other bodily fluids (urine, saliva, vomit), employee shall immediately clean and sanitize the affected areas.
  • The outdoor dining area shall not be fully enclosed (a fully enclosed dining area shall be considered to be part of the interior area of the facility).

 
Business operators are obligated to follow local city ordinances related to sidewalk, public nuisance, and sanitation issues.

For information on helpful hints for dining outdoors with your dog, please visit http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.

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