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Wash. state lawmaker proposes allowing man's best friend to be drinking buddy

1/25/2007
Mike Duffy watches while his dog Emma muzzles up to the counter for a treat from Rebecca Barrett at an outdoor deli window in Olympia, Wash. Duffy said he is not in favor of a bill being considered by lawmakers to allow dogs in pubs. 

OLYMPIA, Wash. — If dog-loving lawmakers prevail, Fido
could soon be sidling up to bar stools around Washington state.

Soggy dogs waiting outside a downtown Olympia pub inspired state
Sen. Ken Jacobsen to propose a way to get them in from the cold and
rain.

``There's all sorts of places you can bring animals now,'' said
Jacobsen, who doesn't own a dog. ``You can take dogs into hotels.
My God, some people are carrying dogs in their purses. Why can't we
have them in the bars?''

The Seattle Democrat's bill would allow bars and restaurants
with liquor licenses to welcome dogs, as long as they accompany
their owners and remain well-behaved and leashed. Establishments
wouldn't be required to allow dogs, except for service animals.

Janna Goodwin with the National Conference of State Legislatures
said she could not find any states that allowed dogs in bars, or
any that were considering similar legislation.

A slightly different law that went into effect in Florida last
summer allows restaurants, approved by local governments, to permit
dogs to eat with their owners outside.

Health officials said the ban on pets in restaurants and bars is
based on Food and Drug Administration regulations.

``Animals don't use the toilet and they shed and they sometimes
drool, and those are potential issues with food,'' said Joe Graham,
public health adviser for the Washington state Department of
Health.

Lisa Owens would like the bill to pass so she could bring her
112-pound Rottweiler, Ida, with her when meeting friends at bars in
Olympia.

``If people were asking me to go somewhere and I could bring my
dog, I might be more likely to go,'' she said.

But Mike Duffy, walking along a pier with his German shorthaired
pointer, Emma, said he didn't think it was a great idea.

``If you want to take your dog out, go for a walk,'' he said.
``If you want to go to the bar, leave the dog outside or at home.''

The Senate Labor, Commerce, Research and Development Committee
scheduled a public hearing on Jacobsen's proposal for Jan. 30.