Legislators want table for two -- plus Fido
Fingers — and paws — are crossed for a bill before the General Assembly that would free Maryland to join Florida, California and Minnesota in allowing dining outside with dogs, The Sun's Jill Rosen reports this morning.
Del. Dan K. Morhaim, who is sponsoring the Dining Out Growth Act of 2011, says the law would give a much-needed boost to the state's restaurant industry, which has had a tough go of it in the recent economic downturn.
"Frankly, anything that develops economic activity right now is good," the Baltimore County Democrat says. "Now when people are outside and walking with their dogs, they'll walk by a place where they'd like to stop and eat. But they won't because they can't."
Morhaim emphasized his belief in the title of the legislation: Dining Out Growth Act of 2011. It is scheduled for a House hearing tomorrow. No Senate action is planned at this point.
Rosen reports that some restaurants do quietly welcome dogs on the patio (under the table, so to speak).
"When we say, 'Want to go to Shuckers?' she'll dance around like a nut and bark her head off," says Christopher Woodside, who owns the 82-pound bulldog. "She prefers ice in her water bowl and Shuckers gives it to her like that."
But far more, Rosen writes, don't allow dogs and fear it is costing them business.