Hoffman: Just say no to dogs in restaurants
Chronicle columnist and dog lover Ken Hoffman takes Councilmember Michael Berry to task today:
Houston City Councilmember Michael Berry is set to propose an ordinance that would allow restaurants the option of permitting dogs on outside patios and outside seating areas.
Currently, it's against the law in Houston for dogs to be inside or outside a restaurant.
I think the current law is a smart idea.
I would never eat at a restaurant that allowed dogs to mingle with diners. It's a health issue, a safety issue and a disgust issue.
I don't want to be eating near a dog who decides, well, this is a good time to lick himself. Or pee. Or shake off excess moisture from his coat. Or bite me. Or get amorous with another dog ... or my leg.
You don't know anything about that dog, where it's been, whether it's had its shots, whether it has fleas or ticks or anything else.
Councilmember Berry has distinguished himself as a serious and thoughtful member of Council, especially over the most recent couple of terms, which is why it's unfortunate to see him pursuing this trivial matter. I'm a "dog person" like Hoffman, and because I'm a "dog person" I agree with Hoffman -- dogs have no place in restaurants or on cafe patios. Because they might shake off moisture or fleas or ticks, as Hoffman says, they create health issues. There's also the issue of shedding and dander (dog hair being blown on my Michael Berry Burger -- yum!). And, unfortunately, I've seen too many instances in Houston of boneheaded dog owners thinking they have absolute control over their off-leash dogs, only to have Fido go bounding away (usually to attack a dog that's on leash, as required by city ordinance) -- so yes, dogs in restaurants/patios must be regarded as a potential safety hazard.
There are many serious problems in the city of Houston that need to be considered by serious people. Changing the city's ban on dogs in restaurants isn't one of them.