WETUMPKA, Ala (WIAT) — It’s official: Alabama will now allow family’s to bring their furry friends with them for a meal at their favorite local restaurants.
On May 20, Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law a bill that allows restaurants to have outdoor dining areas where pet owners can dine with their dogs. Until now, a local health department could choose to fine or even shut down a restaurant for allowing dogs in outside dining areas.
The new law is welcome news for restaurant owners like Wil Lanum, owner and chef at Grumpy Dog Hotdogs in Wetumpka.
“We’re an outdoor, walking town. Everybody downtown walks around from shop to shop, they’re gonna get something to eat and they bring their dogs with them,” Lanum said.
Grumpy Dog has allowed dogs to dine outside with their owner for years. And while the local health department never had an issue with it, other parts of the state have cracked down. That’s the reason the bill sponsor Rep. Steve McMillan, R-Gulf Shores, got involved. Besides convenience, he said it makes good business sense.
“One of my mayors in my municipalities asked me what the status of the bill was and I told him it had not moved yet and he said what’s the matter with these people? Why can’t we do something in Alabama that’s like the rest of the world and is good?” McMillan said.
“So, the more opportunity we have is better for us. For the all the restaurants and businesses in town and surrounding areas it’s only going to benefit for more people coming into the shop,” Lanum said.
The legislation also has the endorsement of the American Kennel Club and the American Restaurant and Hospitality Association.