Dogs are allowed at outdoor eateries, if they behave

I see many dogs at outside eating areas at local restaurants. Is it no longer illegal to have dogs in businesses that serve food?

— Betsy S., via email

Well Betsy, according to a new Oregon Administrative Rule (OAR 333-150-000), if a restaurant says it's OK, and Fido is a "good boy," then he can dine alfresco, too.

The rule provision, adopted in September 2012, permits restaurants — if they choose and are willing to provide the required documentation — to allow patrons' pet dogs in outdoor eating areas. (Only service dogs are allowed inside a restaurant.)

The Oregon Health Authority asks that all pet patrons be on a leash and under control. Dogs are not permitted to climb on furniture — that goes for little dogs too — or come in contact with utensils or tableware.

Yapping, barking, begging, licking and defecating in the dining area also are generally frowned upon. Even dogs must practice proper table etiquette, it seems.

Betsy, we hope this doesn't discourage you from eating outdoors or, if you have a dog, from bringing him to dinner with you.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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