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Who Wants To Let The Dogs Out? Ohio Rep. Laura Lanese

Dog on restaurant patio
Lindsay Attaway/Flickr

If Ohio Rep. Laura Lanese of Grove City gets her way, Ohio eateries with patios would gain the ability to decide if they want to allow canine companions to accompany their humans to outside tables.

Lanese’s bill (HB 263), which she introduced to the Ohio House on June 8, would mark a departure from current state law, which bans pooches from restaurant patios. 

Lanese, a Republican, says she’s spoken with restaurant owners who didn’t know they were breaking the law by letting customers bring their furry friends along for a nice meal outside.

“This is a relief to them,” Lanese says.

But Lanese says most restaurants are on board because her bill gives them the ability to decide to allow or ban dogs from patios.

Though she says she doesn’t know exactly why pups can’t go on restaurant patios now, but she suspects it’s related to old thinking that dogs are unsanitary.

“We’ve come up with information that says it’s pretty much inconclusive in most circumstances,” Lanese says. “I don’t think there’s anything particularly unique about being in an outdoor patio that would lead to more unsanitary concerns.”

Lanese, who says she owns two rescue dogs herself, thinks dog owners are among the most responsible people she knows, and she says they tend to police themselves.

Case in point: Lanese won’t be taking her dogs along to any restaurants any time soon.

“They’re a little bit wild, and I’m not sure that taking them out in public, especially around all that food, would be a smart thing," Lanese says.

Lanese says she still has meetings with the Ohio Restaurant Association and public health officials to finalize the legislation before it goes before any committees.