The Sarasota County Commission was presented an opportunity at its June 9 meeting to make the county’s doggie-dining program a permanent program, but instead chose to extend it for five years.
County Commissioner Nora Patterson said she preferred to review most programs, such as this, from time to time, instead of making them a permanent fixture.
The doggie dining pilot program was approved in May 2007. The county’s health department monitors the program.
“The program is going very well in my opinion,” said Quentin Clark, environmental supervisor for the health department.
Fourteen restaurants across the county have received doggie-dining permits, and Clark said he has received few complaints from the public.
Beckham’s Osprey Grill in the Southbay shopping center was the first restaurant to receive a county permit. Owner George Beckham said he’s about to renew his license, because his customers love the fact that they can take their dogs with them.
“We have dogs here most days,” Beckham said.
But the county does have strict rules that licensed restaurants must follow, which include:
• Employees have to wash their hands promptly after touching a dog.
• Employees are prohibited from touching a dog while serving food.
• Hand sanitizer must be provided at all tables.
• Dogs must be on a leash.
• Dogs are prohibited on tables, chairs or other furnishings.
• Designated doggie-dining areas must be outside.
• Dogs cannot walk through the interior of the restaurant to get to the designated outdoor area.
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