Dogs don't belong at restaurants

Pets, particularly dogs, are beloved in our community and in our homes.
Jul 1, 2013


While we love Fido as much as the next person does, a proposal that would allow dogs at outdoor eating establishments goes a bit too far.

House Bill 4335, currently under consideration in Lansing, would allow pet owners to take their canine companions to the outdoor dining areas of restaurants. While the intention is good — finding a way to promote the state to vacationing pet-lovers — the results could be disastrous.

Imagine sitting down at the outdoor patio of one of our fine eating establishments in downtown Grand Haven. There’s a nice breeze, soft music, and you’re enjoying the company of your date.

Then, you smell wet dog nearby, or you feel the hot breath of a St. Bernard panting and drooling on your leg, or that beagle right in front of you is feeling frisky with the table leg, or a leash gets wrapped around your chair as a friendly Labrador bounds after a poodle walking by.

Voila! Your perfectly nice, and likely not inexpensive, dining experience might have just been ruined.

The truth of the matter is that dogs will be dogs. Many people think that their Fido or Fifi is the most well-behaved creature on four legs. Well, sometimes that’s just not the case.

Even if it is, they’re still dogs. And dogs often do gross things that aren’t meant for dinner table conversation.

Currently, pets — other than highly trained service animals — are banned from eating establishments.

Luckily, House Bill 4335 would allow local municipalities to adopt stricter ordinances regarding pets at dining establishments.

If the bill is approved at the state level, we urge our local governments to seriously think it over before allowing eating establishments to become dog parks.

If Fido really enjoys your filet mignon or the dinner rolls, take him back a doggy bag. Believe us, he’ll be excited to see you again after your hour-long dinner break and will forgive anything if you chuck him a chunk of steak.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



I see no problem with well behaved dogs being allowed to sit at an outside diner. Not a big deal. But then again, I don't sit around waiting to be offended or bothered either.


Fido AND FiFi have been at outdoor establishments for years in Europe and heck, even Traverse City and Holland.


Id rather have dogs then some of the other people..


Let the proprietor decide. If the owner of the restaurant wants to allow some outdoor canine seating, so be it. The we have the choice of supporting that restaurant (or not). I may go and you may not. The choice is ours.


I see no problem with it... whoever wrote this article seems to have never been to an establishment that allows dogs outdoors. I've never seen a poorly behaved dog at an outdoor table, they are often laying down under the table. Most dog owners are much more considerate than people give them credit for. I have two dogs, one is kind of crazy and doesn't listen well around lots of people, the other is more well behaved, I would never bring the one who doesn't listen to be at a cafe or restaurant outdoors.

I do think it should be up to business owners, especially if you have staff that is severely allergic to dogs or have the option to only have 1-2 tables where people could bring their dogs, in case there are customers who don't fancy dogs but also want to dine outside. I think it's great for those vacationing in the area, and locals who love bringing their well behaved dogs with them.


Wow, I'm surprised the rabid dog haters aren't on here yelling about this proprosal.
I'm with Boater on this one....Let the proprietor's his business to run the way he wants.


A lot of "people" don't belong in restaurants either.

Too loud; badly behaved (kids AND adults); greedy (buffet); cell phone obsessed (move out of the doorway or aisle when you are distracted by your phone); inappropriate rudeness to servers; bad tippers; no courtesy.

Can we ban them too? Please!!

At least dogs love company, give unconditional love, and are always happy to meet people.

Their owners (well, that's always up for debate. Who owns who? The term is just used to help identify the person responsible for the dog. Pet unfriendly people need labels) are more considerate and centered than most.

Let the restaurant owner decide.

I would prefer to go to a pet friendly restaurant.


Yes, please can we ban those who are rude to servers and those with unruly children!!


Some Dogs smell better than some people with a nice breeze blowing in people's direction


Can we allow guinea pigs too please? How about snakes, or ferrets, or lizards, or parrots. Why stop with dogs? I might want to bring my cats downtown to a restaurant! If only we could greet each other like dogs do :) They are so cute! Another slippery slope.

Say no to new taxes

Bigdeal is right, where do you draw the line?


My dog cant eat the Zoo's food, he gets the squirts........


Now that's funny, I don't care who your are!


First of all I would go out to eat more if they were allowed ! Florida and many other places are having great success with this .

I would rather eat in a restaurant with many dogs than most people . Dogs are a lot nicer than people. In conclusion I would like to quote Hippocrates " The soul is the same in all living creatures , although the body of each is different . "


I'd just be curious of how many people here are saying let the owner decide were for the government to have a smoking ban. I'll bet as many people are as annoyed by dogs dining with them as people smoking. I for one love dogs, have a dog, but I don't need to bring it out as an accessory. Thankfully, if I want attention, I find other ways than using a pet.


I agree with Creedence on this point. The smoking ban was the first thing I thought of when reading this article. Everyone who says, "let the establishment decide" and "people who don't like dogs can choose not to eat there" are the same people who fought vigorously against allowing separate "smoking" bars and restaurants and insisted that everything had to be smoke free. I guess it's ok to remove some people's rights as long as they are the rights that YOU want removed but stop us from bringing our dogs out to eat with us and now you've gone too far! Where does it end?


I completely disagree with all aspects of this article. First, if you are the owner of a (well-behaved) dog, then you know how wonderful it is to be able to take your dog with you into a restaurant when traveling or visiting your favorite local place. Not being able to take our dog into a certain restaurant has stopped us many times from not eating there. If your dog is well behaved, you tend to travel with them and you can't just leave them in the car. Plus, allowing dogs on decks allows those who don't feel comfortable to enjoy their dining inside.

It is the responsibility of the dog owner to know their dog. Just like a kid, if a dog is getting out of control you would 'hope' the owner would do something about it.

Even if my husband and I didn't have our dog along, we would still enjoy sitting amongst them.

Mr Quality

I have a dog and would never consider taking her to a restaurant with me. As much as I love my dog she does not belong in a restaurant, dogs can have flees and ticks without the owner realizing it, they lick and nip at themselves that are very unappetizing let alone the health concerns this would create.


Dogs belong at home, if you need to eat with your dog do it at home no all people want to sit next to a animal when they are enjoying dinner.Ringworm, one of the most common infections dogs pass to people. A fungus like jock itch and athlete's foot, ringworm spores can lurk on a dog's coat or muzzle. Every year, ringworm makes the leap from pets to people an estimated 2 million times. Signs of ringworm include circular, scaly red patches on the skin. In dogs, the fungus can surface as hair loss or dry, flaky skin.


Some people are more likely than others to get diseases from dogs. A person's age and health status may affect his or her immune system, increasing the chances of getting sick. People who are more likely to get diseases from dogs include infants, children younger than 5 years old, organ transplant patients, people with HIV/AIDS, and people being treated for cancer.


I love dogs and animals as much as anybody. However this sounds like anything but relaxing to me. Already dealing with the general public and all these related wonderful behaviors. Imagine the greater "cluster" this will create. Will choose not to dine at establishments that allow dogs. It will be the places that Do NOT allow dogs that will see a significant increase in business.


I disagree about businesses not allowing dogs being the businesses that see an increase in business. People who are walking their dogs down the boardwalk, people who are camping or visiting who brought their dog, etc.. will ALL be going to establishments that allow dogs in the outdoor dining spaces.

I'm honestly shocked that some are so upset by this... and to whomever compared this to the smoking ban... get real, are you really comparing the health risks related to smoking/second hand smoke to those of being OUTSIDE with a dog at a table or two over from you?!


I never said anything about health risks, I was simply talking about the freedom of businesses to make the choice. Along your thought though, there are health related risks with dogs as well. Bringing your dog a restaurant is selfish and rude. I know you love your dog and "he's so harmless and cute", but no one else does. Even other dog owners could care less about the accessory you feel the need to drag around. Since you want to humanize your dog so much, can you imagine how awesome they think it is to be dragged around on a leash, getting touched by many strangers, and having to lay on the floor of strange establishments? Think outside of yourself some time and you will see why people think it's an issue.


Having to lay on the floor of strange establishments???? You mean the sidewalk? There are many communities that are dog-friendly, Grand Haven is behind on the times and if they want to accommodate travelers with dogs, I think they should allow well-behaved dogs to dine outside with their owners. If you don't like it, go inside or sit somewhere else. I think they would be far less bothersome than unruly and rude/loud children. Just my opinion.

No one else loves my dog? That's an untrue statement. You sound like a dog-hater. And I, for one have never brought my dog to any establishment besides butch's, at the furthest picnic table away from the round tables... but I have no problem with people who do, as long as their dogs aren't bothering anyone. And I don't think dogs should be allowed IN restaurants, just outside, if the owner allows it.


Your right beachguy...isn't it cool how the free markets work! Now if we could get our politicians to understand that we would all live happier.


Dogs and all other pets belong at HOME unless you are blind and need a leader dog to guide you from point A to point B. That is the only exception that I can see to have a dog with you in a restaurant.


Wow it seems as if the whole world except Muskegon can have an open mind . I would rather eat at home with my pet than with people with closed minds who think they are the superior species!


Uhhhhh, This is the Grand Haven Tribune's website, nothing to do with Muskegon.


Superior species? Try sticking your hand in a dog bowl and tell me how that works out for you.


Cani7upus Humans are the superior species



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