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NY doggy dining law lets restaurants cater to canines

Butch Yamali, owner of Hudson's On the Mile

Butch Yamali, owner of Hudson's On the Mile in Freeport, shows off the restaurant's new offerings for dogs to a hungry customer Thursday afternoon, July 7, 2016. Dozens of dogs and their companions were there to celebrate the Doggie Dining Bill that was recently signed into law. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Man’s best friend will now be able to dine like his owner.

A “doggy dining” bill, signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, went into effect in October, but this is the first summer season that New York’s canine residents will be able to dine at restaurants’ outdoor patios and eating areas.

New York’s dog dining law mimics a 2014 California law. The New York bill, sponsored by state Sen. Kemp Hannon, allows companion dogs to join their owners at outdoor restaurants with a few “common sense” stipulations, he said.

Several New York restaurants already have taken advantage of the legislation, including Hudson’s on the Mile, which unveiled Thursday a new four-legged-friendly dining area and menu.

“I love dogs and I’ve been to California many times.” said Butch Yamali, the owner of Hudson’s. “It’s very cool to watch people eating and their dogs sitting there having a good time.”

Dogs must access the outdoor eating area through a separate, outdoor entrance and must be kept on a leash. The law does not discriminate against any type of dog, but the establishment owners can choose which type of canine to admit.

At Hudson’s, Yamali has opted to start small, with dogs 15 to 20 pounds, before expanding to accommodate bigger pets.

“Small dogs are a good way to start,” the Merrick resident said. “If it grows, we’ll grow a bigger area to accommodate bigger dogs.”

Hannon, who chairs the Senate health committee, originally considered the bill “improbable,” but community dog owners soon convinced him of its imminent success. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and 131-16 in the Assembly.

“It’s important because it allows families to be with their loved ones — in this case, the loved ones are the dogs,” Hannon said. “It makes the whole dining experience far more enjoyable.”

At restaurants that have been “doggy dining” approved, water must be available at all times. Servers are instructed not to interact with the dogs and food is prepared and stored away from the dining area. And of course, owners must clean up after their companions.

Companion dogs are considered “a domesticated dog accompanying an individual or owner for the purpose of companionship or convenience,” according to the law. It will not affect laws currently in place regarding service dogs.

At Hudsons, dogs can “order” fresh food — their menu offers grilled chicken, a burger patty, steamed vegetables and whipped cream — served in a personal dog bowl. The same kitchen staff that prepares food for the human patrons prepares food for their furry counterparts.

“It’s all healthy for them and good for them and they can enjoy eating as well as the owner,” Yamali said.

Katie Grilli-Robbles, 41, of North Bellmore is excited to be able to eat out with her whole family, including her dog Ollie, a flat-coated retriever rescue dog.

“Anything that allows your entire family to spend time together in a nice environment is great,” she said.


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