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State outdoor dining with dogs bill OKd, now up to Cuomo

Customers dine with their dogs at outside tables

Customers dine with their dogs at outside tables at Besito in Huntington in this photo from July 21, 2010. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

ALBANY - State legislators Tuesday approved the so-called dining with dogs bill, which would let customers bring pooches to restaurants with outside food service areas if the restaurant owners choose to allow it.

The state Assembly gave final passage to the bill, 97-5; the Senate previously passed the measure. It will now be up to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to sign or veto.

"I'm very excited because I think it's going to make a lot of people happy," said Assemb. Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), one of the primary sponsors of the bill, then ticking off: "Restaurant owners who want to offer the opportunity to bring your pet in. People who love their dogs."

Rosenthal, who describes herself as a "big animal lover," doesn't have dogs, but does have cats.

Some Assembly members privately said more legislators had concerns but didn't want to cast a "no" vote on any issue involving dogs. Others weren't so reticent.

"I disagree with anyone bringing their animal into a restaurant," said Assemb. Peter Lawrence (R-Rochester), one opponent. "Even if the dog is well-behaved, you could have a barking match between dogs, there could be droppings left on the restaurant floor, there's the possibility of a bite. It's nothing against dogs, but there are instances where something could happen."

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