By Tyler Cianciulli

Restaurant patrons can dine al fresco with their canine companions at participating eateries on Long Island under New York State’s so-called “Doggie Dining Law” for the first time this summer, officials said.

The law went into effect in October, but local lawmakers, animal advocates and restaurateurs touted the bill last week to remind dog lovers to take advantage of their newfound ability to bring their cute and cuddly Fido and friends to outdoor restaurants while the weather is warm.

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“It is great for everyone, it’s great for the community and it’s great to get your dog out for some exercise,” a local proponent told reporters July 7 during a news conference on the Nautical Mile in Freeport.

New York State, which is home to more than one million registered dogs, is the second in the nation to pass such a law. California was the first.

The new law requires a separate entrance for dogs so they do not pass through the establishment. Restaurant employees are prohibited from having direct contact with the pups. The law also prohibits communal water bowls for dogs, which must also be on a leash.

It is still an individual restaurant’s choice to allow dogs to dine there, and establishments can legally refuse to serve pups.

Among proponents touting the new law are New York State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), who co-sponsored the legislation, Freeport Village Mayor Robert T. Kennedy, Jill Burkhardt of North Shore Animal League America, and officials from the Nassau County SPCA. They were joined by a pack of dog lovers and their pets ready to order lunch at a local pup-friendly restaurant.

“This action will give restaurants an additional option to boost revenue and grow their businesses by appealing to this new audience of dog-owning New Yorkers and their four-legged friends,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said upon signing the bill into law last fall.

Rules for outdoor dog dining

  • It’s an individual restaurant’s choice whether to allow dogs to dine there.
  • Dogs must use a separate entrance to avoid walking through the establishment.
  • Restaurant employees are prohibited from having direct contact with pups.
  • Dogs are not allowed on chairs, benches, seats or other fixtures.
  • Food and water provided to dogs must be in a “single-use disposable container.”
  • Restaurant owners must have adequate signage indicating dogs are permitted in outdoor dining areas.
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