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Skip the doggie bag, bring Fido to dinner

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City OKs alfresco canine dining

By Ada Lang

You no longer need to leave your canine friend behind when you want to enjoy a meal at some local eateries, now that the Cedar Key City Commission passed Ordinance 469.

Woof?

The ordinance, which passed on second and final reading Tuesday night, establishes a process for eateries to obtain a permit to allow dogs in outdoor seating areas.

In a community that is so pet-friendly, residents, tourists and restaurant owners are expected to welcome the change. Most remarkably, Butch, City Hall’s resident cat, offered no objection from his spot out in the audience.

The businesses that choose to offer this option to their customers will be issued a permit and a sign that must be posted listing, several rule.

For example, customers may not walk through the building with the animal – you may only access the eating area directly from outside. There is no limit to the number of dogs that may be brought to an outdoor eating area but all pets must be kept on a leash.

There is no requirement that doggie drinking water be provided by either the pet or restaurant owner, however, the eating establishment must keep a dog waste cleanup kit available.

Proper hand sanitizing is required, and restaurants will provide hand sanitizer at each table.

And no, Fido may not lick the plates clean.

Florida has had a law allowing dogs in outdoor seating areas of food establishments since 2009 but Cedar Key did not enact a local ordinance addressing the issue until this week. 

The not-so- secret secret in Cedar Key is that some restaurants already allowed dogs in their outdoor areas but now, they can do so without worry of running afoul with the law.

To obtain a permit, contact the City of Cedar Key Code Enforcement Office at 352-543-6043.