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A county panel is reviewing a proposed ordinance to permit restaurants to set aside areas where customers may eat with their canine companions.

The Volusia County Planning and Land Development Regulation Commission will decide Aug. 15 whether to allow eateries to provide outdoor places where patrons may have their dogs with them while they enjoy their food and drink.

The draft measure is consistent with a state law that sets forth regulations for having dogs within the outdoor dining premises of restaurants.

“It’s a state law that we need to be complying with,” County Planner Susan Jackson said.

The local law would apply to pets, as well as service animals.

If the PLDRC approves the proposal, it will be forwarded to the County Council for final action.

Under the proposal, a restaurant wishing to allow dogs would be required to secure a conditional-use permit, meaning the private business could allow dogs, subject to meeting extra public-health and safety standards. The County Council decides whether to issue conditional-use permits for businesses.

“The application requirements include contact information, a diagram of the designated area and the hours of operation that patrons’ dogs will be permitted in the designated area,” reads a summary of the ordinance. “Signage must be posted notifying the public that the designated area is available for patrons with dogs. Dogs must be kept on a leash and under reasonable control, and restaurant employees must adhere to specific sanitary regulations.”

The summary notes, too, the conditional-use permit “will expire upon sale or closure of the restaurant,” but new owners will be allowed to seek a new permit for dogs in the outdoor dining area. Dogs may not move into other parts of the restaurant, such as indoor areas.

Not least, patrons or restaurant employees will be responsible for cleaning up animal waste, and the floor or ground area must be “immediately cleaned and sanitized with an approved product.”

County officials may revoke a conditional-use permit if the restaurant owner fails to comply with the regulations.

Regulations include the following:

“All restaurant employees shall wash their hands promptly after touching, petting, or otherwise handling dogs. Employees shall be prohibited from touching, petting, or otherwise handling dogs while serving food or beverages or handling dogs while serving food or beverages or handling tableware or before entering other parts of the restaurant.

“Patrons In the designated outdoor area shall be advised that they should wash their hands before eating. Waterless hand sanitizer shall be provided at all tables in the designated outdoor area.

“Employees and patrons … shall not allow dogs to come into contact with serving dishes, utensils, tableware, linens, paper products, or any other items involved in food service operations.

“Dogs shall not be allowed on chairs, tables, or other furnishings. Dogs must remain on the floor/ground level and shall not be permitted in the lap of the patron.”

The PLDRC will convene at 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, in the County Council Chambers of the Thomas C. Kelly County Administration Center, 123 W. Indiana Ave. in DeLand. The meeting is open to the public.


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