Restaurant owners should decide

To the Editor: Re: “Dogs don’t belong in restaurants" (Tribune "Our Views," July 1)
Jul 15, 2013


This bill would allow the restaurant owner to determine whether or not they would like to allow dogs in their outdoor dining area. This would not be a sudden free-for-all of rampant dogs in outdoor dining. 

I personally think it is up to the business owner to make such decisions on their own behalf. I think it would be safe to say that some may choose to keep their outdoor dining dog-free.

As with anything, like kids or adults, you always have the ones who misbehave. So, will there be the person who takes a misbehaving dog to a restaurant? Well, to be honest, yes. But it’s the same thing with any issue a restaurant owner might come across. 

What about the screaming baby with a stinky diaper? I love kids, but that’s not my idea of an ideal dining situation. Responsible parents address the situation just as a responsible dog owner would. The staff at the restaurant would have to address that situation if it wasn’t addressed by the diner.

But, in all honesty, a majority of people dining with their dogs wouldn’t do it unless their dog was well-behaved. It would be embarrassing otherwise, and no one sets out to get embarrassed.

Note that you can go north and south of us and take your dog to dinner. Are we missing out on some opportunities? Absolutely.

Tonya Christiansen
Must Love Dogs Boutique & Spa
Grand Haven




Grand Haven unhappy. There were a total 34 fatal dog attacks in the United States in 2012, I have not found any deaths due to house cat attacking and killing a human. Where are your "facts" coming from? Keep your dirty dog at home


Having trained several puppies for "Leader Dogs for the Blind" as well as "Soul Friends", I have taken many puppies/dogs into restaurants (both indoor and outdoor). I can't say they have always been the best behaved (some are looking for people to pet them - not acceptable), but I am 100% attentive (ok, maybe 95% if I've just been served my food) when it comes to the dog I have with me. They don't get to greet and visit anyone, they don't get to leave the place I've asked to stay at, and they better not make noise!

I think others could (and should be allowed to) bring their dogs to restaurants and should be able to IF, and that's a big "IF" they are respectable. Of course, there is still the issue of dander and people allergic to dogs. It is my belief that allowing them to hang with their owners outside (if they are behaving) is an awesome idea and a very good way to make the humans responsible and dogs enjoying their owners. Perhaps those suffering from allergies can eat inside.

Yes, PLEASE let the restaurant owners decide!



I just put iced tea threw my nose on that one.

Don't get me wrong I'm a dog lover. And a foodie. I actually don't see anything wrong with cultures who eat dog. But have never partaken or have plans to.

With that said... That was just plain funny! It was refreshing to see an example of unusual humor in this tight town.


Being a dog friendly community ourselves we understand the unpleasantness of some dogs/owners. With that being said as issues arise we address them. Because one dog owner doesn't pick up after their dog should we not allow any dogs on the property? No! We address it, correct the issue and move on.

If restaurants chose to do this, it would be great and also may attract different customers that might not have normally ate there. This should be the restaurant owners decision. They should however have adequate signs so that other customers are aware why the dogs are present. This would also give them the option to choose to dine elsewhere or go inside.

How cool would it be to be jogging down Washington St. with your four legged friend and be then able to stop along the way for a bite to eat.

Kudos to you Tonya, great article!

Tri-cities realist

The fact that we have to have legislation to allow restaurant owners to determine who or what they want in their restaurants is rediculous, but that's what happens in a nanny state.


It's those States-Righters (of which group I assume you belong) who want the State to make the laws for their individual states, according to majority rule. This responsibility then trickles down, in many cases, to the local municipalities. The people speak, and laws are proposed. Just like the legalization of fireworks in Michigan. Of course, people will put off fireworks at all hours of the day and night until people complain, which they will, and then local government has an obligation to put more laws into effect to regulate fireworks.

Is this your idea of a nanny state?

Tri-cities realist

You assumed correctly, congrats. The fed govt is a 9000 lb godzilla, the state is a 400 lb bear, and so on. I would rather take my chances with the least menacing (local) bureaucrats.

Yes that is what I would call a nanny state... The belief that govt at any level knows best what is right for a restaurant owner. I am no anarchist, we need food safety laws so we don't get sick, etc. So if a dog really poses such a health threat, then the outdoor sidewalk tables should be eliminated, since a dog can pass within a foot of a patron eating at the restaurants on Washington and elsewhere. My guess is that most restaurant owners won't take the risk posed by allowing dogs, but they should be allowed to choose, just as patrons have the choice of frequenting such restaurants.

As for fireworks, I have to admit, you lost me on how this relates to the restaurant discussion. However I do believe there are already laws in place that address the effects of fireworks, such as disturbing the peace, creating a fire hazard, etc. do we really need more laws, shouldn't we just enforce the ones already on the books?


It was awfully late at night, so I understand, but firecrackers relate to the restaurant argument in this way (and I repeat..): Our State legislators chose to alter a perfectly good piece of legislation, and for some unknown reason, presumably in response to requests by a minority of citizens, loosened firecracker regulations, with more regulations. Which then had the effect of cries of "Fire" from the multitudes who didn't appreciate having firecrackers go off outside their bedroom windows at 3:00 a.m. Which then forced the local governments to create new regulations regulating the under-regulation of firecrackers.

Hope this clears up any murkiness!

deuce liti

There are over a billion people starving in the world; a great many in your own country with not enough to eat. Toddlers with not enough food to survive. And you people are arguing about taking your dog out to dinner.

Raining on your parade,
Me (again).


The letter is wrong on so many levels:

1. If you let restaurant owners decide whether to allow dogs, you start down a slippery slope; they next might decide what foods and drinks to serve, to let people use salt, to drink as much soda as they want, to use cell phones at their tables, to smoke, or any number of other harmful or disturbing things, contrary to the wishes of government bureaucrats. This in turn could make citizens think they have individual rights, which is dangerous and what government has been working hard to stamp out for many years. Power to the people is not what this great country is all about.

2. The letter exhibits a disturbing discrimination in favor of dogs. People have all kinds of human companions - cats, mice, hamsters, snakes, pot bellied pigs, goats - the list is enormous. Why would you profile all of the other species and only permit restaurant owners to permit dogs? This is another slippery slope - we know what discriminating and profiling can lead to.

3. Did nobody notice that the letter writer has a capitalistic vested interest in having the bill passed? "Must Love Dogs Boutique and Spa" - Come on now - what human companion would take their canine companion to a restaurant without first having a wash, set and rinse and some new clothes? Aiding capitalists and small business owners is not what this country is all about.


Besides your conspicuous omission of the wombat species from your list of pets, I fail to see what a letter expressing an opinion that restaurant owners should make the decision about allowing dogs has anything, in any way, to do with government. Unless you were giggling throughout. Or are trolling for some way to promote your anti-goverment sentiments.

Besides, what's your point? If enough people complained to their local government about dogs in restaurants, and the local government responded to the majority of complainers by addressing the problem, wouldn't you consider this a proper and suitable standard of government?

Tri-cities realist

Brilliant Vlad, simply brilliant.


(shhh...he's already insuffera...difficult enough, as it is)....


You've got to be kidding me - the whole issue arose because House Bill 4335, currently under consideration in Lansing, would allow pet owners to take their canine companions to the outdoor dining areas of restaurants.

Again, the bill would produce a STATE requirement, not local government. Are you suggesting that there is evidence, on the state level, that there is a huge groundswell of public clamor for a law permitting dogs in restaurants, rather than the whim of a few legislators to stick their nose in everyone's business and exercise control? And you don't understand why some of us feel government is too big and intrusive? Sheesh!


No need to get churlish.

For starters, you misdirected your comments. "This letter is wrong on so many levels" indicates a critique of the opinions expressed in the letter, not House Bill 4335 (are you absolutely certain about that bill number?).

Secondly, as a States Righter, I would think you would approve of State level regulation over Federal level. And, I don't know if there is a groundswell of public clamor for a law for permitting dogs in restaurants, but there must be something instigating the proposal. Maybe you could tap on to some connections and find out for us.

Finally, I assume you are in a similar state of churlishness over the recent repeal of the STATE Motorcycle Helmet law, that provides freedom for motorcyclists (in the minority, as well) to choose whether to wear helmets, but in so doing, issues a series of mandates that must be followed in order to exercise that freedom. And then there is the recent STATE law that loosens restrictions on firecrackers, with the inevitable eventuality of people complaining about the under-regulation and dumping it on local government to respond to the complaints, making for ever more big and intrusive government at every level. Kabob!


Yup, change the subject. From dogs in restaurants to States Rights to Motorcycle Helmet Laws, to firecrackers. Does this mean you now get the nexus between the letter and government? Does this mean you now understand that your lecture on local government standards responding to majority of complaints is inapplicable to the voracious appetite of big government - State and Federal? If so, to quote a certain military pilot, Mission Accomplished!


I have now seen the light. I was incorrect in thinking you might actually be offering an opinion regarding Ms. Christiansen's letter, but correct in my original assessment that you were using the letter to segue into anti-government rhetoric.

But then the fog returns because you seem to be criticizing our State legislature, which is currently under Republican control, with a strong representation by the Tea Party (local government as well, for that matter). So I guess you're saying you are opposed to any and all government (so anti-Constitution!), not just laws applying to dogs in restaurants. I hope I'm on track here, as I would hate to "change the subject".

I think you are stretching the nexus with your last sentence. You're putting W's words into the mouth of George HW - a definite no-no! You'll get bumped from W's A-list.


Let me cut through the fog machine you operate so well; of course I'm not opposed to any and all government - I'm opposed to any government that assumes authorities beyond those granted to it in its authorizing and establishing charter, whether it be a the United States Constitution, a state or commonwealth constitution, or a municipal charter.

You can be forgiven to have forgotten that George W. Bush was a fighter interceptor pilot flying a F-102 Delta Dagger with the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group of the Texas Air National Guard. It is only remembered as part of the liberal effort (see Dan Rather) to damage his chances of becoming president. FYI see


I do believe the clouds have parted, the fog has lifted, and the sun is shining through. You are opposed to any government that assumes authorities beyond those granted to it in its authorizing and establishing charter, whether it be a the United States Constitution, a state or commonwealth constitution, or a municipal charter, regardless if it is a Tea Party or Republican-led government, or a liberal, progressive, or Democrat-led government! So all these months of complaining about liberals/progressives is moot, as you really don't differentiate between the parties when is comes to government with which you are or are not opposed. Glad we got that cleared up.

Jed Babblehead or whatever is a real jerk. Such gratuitous graciousness in expounding on W Bush's brave and heroic war service, coupled with having the brass to compare Bush's playing around with the cool jet to Kerry's true sacrifice in the line of fire in the heart of Vietnam and Purple Hearts, is nauseating. And, of course, there is the matter of the despicable swift-boating of Kerrys' selfless service to his country by the cowardly bullies during the campaign to damage his chances of becoming president.

I hope you aren't equating the son's few months of service, when it was convenient for him to show up, with the father's bravery during WWII.


Par. 1 - Yes - except it is liberals who are most guilty of government pushing the envelope beyond its authorized charter.

The Swift Boat patriots were men who served with Kerry and knew about his manipulation of the system for his medals and about his lies about what he allegedly experienced. George W. served his country, as did Kerry, as did George H.W. Bush.


Par. 1 - The intent was to qualify, not measure. Although I anticipated you would have to get the word 'liberal' in there somehow. An altogether lame response to what amounts to a victory - Lanivan-1. Vlad-0.

So you are equating cheerleader W's stateside service to his father's and Kerry's service overseas, in the line of fire and in the hell of war.
Again, lame. Swift-boaters patriots? "Alleged lies and manipulations"? Shame on you. You can't pay nor goad me enough to go off, firecracker-like, on that one.

Tri-cities realist

Fear not Vlad, some of us can still recognize your approach of illustrating absurdity by being absurd. Don't stop on Lan's account, we'll continue to try and help her see the light.


It's sweet to think Vlad would ever deign to stop his absurdity on my account, TCR. Although once he did call me "valiant" in my efforts - words that inspire and motivate me to soldier on, in the darkness, led astray, casting about for the truth....


It's a restaurant...we eat food there! There is a time and place for everything...leave the pouch at home. Some people are afraid of animals and some are allergic. If you want a tag-along companion, adopt a child!!! Would the Health Department endorse this? You can't even wear open toed shoes working in a can't wear nail polish in the kitchen of a restaurant...etc. I'm sure you pets are clean and safe but it's a PUBLIC PLACE to be enjoyed by all not just the pet owners!

Tri-cities realist

Obviously it is much too dangerous for us to eat in restaurants, I hereby propose that all restaurants be immediately banned!


I still have yet to hear a good argument of why people want to bring their dogs, especially knowing that the majority don't want them there. You chose to take on the responsibility of dog ownership. Now be responsible with it. If you can't differentiate between humans and dogs, perhaps you can eat dinner at home and read up on it a little bit. I have a very happy and well behaved dog that has never accompanied me to places where dogs aren't appropriate. If nothing else, consider it a sign of respect to other patrons and the employees.



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