Once upon a time, the Itchmos considered opening up a cafe for dining with your pets. We dreamed of a cafe in the city where parents, kids and dogs could spend quality time socializing and dining together. There would be food for people and food for pets. It was a place to hang out on lazy summer days, and a comfortable warm haven on cold winter nights. A place to gather for pet owners and a spot for the neighborhood Spot.
Unfortunately, we were crushed by the reality that Chicago and Illinois laws prohibited the preparation of human food in establishments where pets were present. In other words, if I let dogs into my business, I can’t cook human food. The reasoning? Pets carry disease and bacteria dangerous to humans.
That’s a funny thought. When was the last time you heard of someone getting sick from eating next to their dog (or cat for the matter)? This may come as a surprise to most health officials, but I prepare food and eat next to my dog every single crazy dangerous day. *GASP*
The issue of dining with your pet is a state one, not federal. Each state issues its own set of rules and most of them allow cities to make exceptions or variations upon that rule. Currently, the rules fall into one of two categories: 1) No dogs or pets allowed in any dining service area (indoor or outdoor), or 2) restaurants may permit outdoor dining with pets.
The laws designed to segregate dogs, cats and other animals from kitchens areas are a great idea. Heck, who wants Fido’s fur in their french fries? But most states have gone too far, setting ridiculous rules in to effect to ensure the “public’s safety”.
There’s been a slate of legislation to permit dogs to dine with their owners outdoors, but the ridiculous antiquated notion that dogs and cats all of a sudden becomes a danger to society in a restaurant needs to be erased.
We’ve gotten our share of dog admirers, but I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gotten evil stares from people who are just appalled at our dog while he was quietly sitting under my chair. Ironically, the stares usually come from the same people who’s screaming baby just puked all over the place. I should have a right to a well-behaved dog just as they have a right to flaunt a screaming baby in my face.
All I’m asking is to let businesses decide how they want to run their business. Some people are allergic you say? Go somewhere else. There’s plenty of other restaurants. If someone wants to run a dog-human cafe, let them. And if you have such a business, we’ll be your repeat customers.