New rules allow dogs in outdoor areas of restaurants

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt November 30, 2015
Drew Stanley takes a moment to say hello to his dog, Tootsie, while cleaning up the old Dearborn Animal Hospital yard. File photo by: Dena Mellick.

Drew Stanley takes a moment to say hello to his dog, Tootsie, while cleaning up the old Dearborn Animal Hospital yard. File photo by: Dena Mellick.

The conflicting regulations about whether restaurants could allow pets in outdoor seating areas had vexed the wait staff at Pastries A Go Go in Decatur.

While many Decatur restaurants allow pets outdoors, there was always a dispute about the legality of it. Someone had complained about the dogs sitting on the patio at Pastries and the Health Department stepped in. The wait staff often had to tell customers their dogs were not allowed. Meanwhile, some restaurants down the street were able to continue the practice without getting hassled by health inspectors.

The Iberian Pig’s chef Eric Roberts told WABE that his restaurant allowed customers to bring dogs.

But from now on, dogs will be allowed in outdoor areas of restaurants.


According to recently revised regulations from the Georgia Department of Public Health, dogs will be allowed under the following conditions:

(I) The food service establishment prepares written procedures that include:

I. A diagram of the outdoor area to be designated as available to consumers with pet dogs;

II. The establishment’s procedure for assuring that employees do not touch, pet or otherwise handle pet dogs and for immediately cleaning accidents involving dog waste. The procedure must also describe the location of materials and equipment necessary to clean up accidents involving dog waste; and

III. The establishment’s procedure for notifying employees and consumers of the requirements of this paragraph.

(II) Pet dogs may not come into contact with serving dishes, utensils and tableware. Pet dogs are also not allowed on chairs, tables and other furnishings.

(III) Employees and consumers may not provide food to pet dogs.

(IV) Pet dogs must be on a leash and under control of the consumer at all times.

(V) At no time may pet dogs be permitted to travel through the indoor or non-designated outdoor portions of the food establishment.

Jennifer Owens, an employee of Pastries, said the new regulations are a relief.

“That makes it a lot better,” she told Decaturish. “I’m so glad I don’t have to tell people ‘no’ anymore.”


About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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