A new Texas state law will grant pet owners with wider access to pet-friendly dining options throughout the state.
Texas Senate Bill 476, which grants restaurant owners the choice to allow dogs in their outdoor dining areas, was recently signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott. Under the new law, which takes effect September 1, 2019, restaurant owners can opt into allowing pets so long as the following criteria are met:
- The establishment posts a sign clearly stating that dogs are permitted
- No food is prepared in the patio area
- The only open food in the patio area is being served to a customer
- The pets access the patio directly from the exterior of the establishment and don’t come inside
- The dog is kept controlled on a leash
- The dog is not allowed on a seat, table, countertop or similar surface
The bill closely follows similar legislation passed in Austin, Texas — a city known for its pet-friendliness — in 2006.
Prior to the passage of SB 476, local governments could enact their own laws prohibiting pets in restaurants, even if they were restricted to outdoor dining areas. With the passage of this bill, any existing local laws that prohibit dogs on patios will be overturned.
“I think it’s a slam dunk for the state. We should have done this a long time ago. I think it’ll also help small businesses to have customers who can stay at the business. If they don’t have to just drive through and can stay, they may spend more money with the local businesses.”
— Jessica Edwards, Owner, Frank & Joe’s Coffee House