first_imgFlorida health regulations previously prevented all dogs except service animals from joining patrons al fresco, although several restaurants ignored the rules until local regulators started cracking down last year. Rep. Sheri McInvale, an Orlando Republican, filed the bill after some complained they were threatened with fines. The measure creates a three-year pilot program, and the state will determine whether to continue it. Allowing dogs to dine will be up to each county, and even if it’s allowed, restaurant owners will still decide individually whether to participate. Bush said the bill will allow dog lovers and their pets to “have a brewski together, have a hot dog together or whatever they want outdoors. “It just seems like it’s a small thing, but it’s going to be an important thing for a whole lot of people.” Not everyone supported the bill. Orlando resident George Jones said he thought legally allowing dogs to dine in public was “the most ignorant thing I’ve ever seen.” “They eat well, but they don’t eat with me,” Jones, 51, said of his border collie and black Labrador. “I’ve already made the decision that I won’t go to any place that will allow them. I just don’t think people should eat with dogs; that’s disgusting.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ORLANDO, Fla. – At just 1 year old, Theo had already turned to a life of crime. The tiny Yorkie would sneak into restaurants inside his owner’s bag, usually undetected, but he and Marcy Richardson were occasionally kicked out. Now the 26-year-old Richardson and Theo can stop worrying and start chowing down. Gov. Jeb Bush on Friday signed the so-called “doggie dining” bill, which allows local governments to let restaurants permit dogs to eat with their owners outside. last_img

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