CITIZEN VOICES®
More dog friendly dining options in NH?

Feb 22, 2019

The New Hampshire Legislature is considering a bill that would open the door to more pet-friendly dining options in the Granite State.  

HB 249 would give restaurants the option to allow all dogs, not just service animals, inside their premises. The dogs would be allowed in dining areas only, not kitchens or areas where food is being prepared. The restaurant would also be required to post a sign clearly stating that dogs were allowed inside.  

Current rules for dogs in NH restaurants 

Currently, restaurants in NH are required to allow legally-recognized service animals inside, but forbidden to allow other dogs. The only exception is for a restaurant owner's “companion animal", though there are strict rules about where that animal can and can't go.  

Restaurants do currently have the option to allow animals in outdoor seating areas, with some local regulation.  

Learn more about debates related to animal rights in New Hampshire  

Pros and cons 

Supporters of HB 249 note that many individuals rely on a companion animal for emotional support, such as people suffering from PTSD, yet that animal might not qualify as a full-fledged service animal. This bill would make it easier for such people to go out to eat. 

Others argue that giving restaurant owners the option to allow dogs potentially opens them up to a bigger market. It also means dog owners who prefer not to leave their animals at home would have year-round choices for going out to eat. Those who prefer not to eat around dogs could choose to patronize restaurants that remain dog-free.  

Opponents express concerns about hygiene as well as public safety. Others point out that allowing all dogs into restaurants means potential trouble for disabled people with service animals, as pets can be a major distraction for service dogs or can even result in trauma to the animal that results in its being decommissioned.  

Should restaurants have the option to allow all dogs – not just service animals – on their premises?

Comments

Tom Ploszaj
- Center Harbor

Sun, 03/03/2019 - 1:37pm

We allowed customers' pets into out establishments (non-food). I believe this is an issue between the business owners and their customers.

Beverly Shevenell
- Dover

Sat, 03/02/2019 - 11:49am

I think a restaurant owner should be allowed to make the decision as to whether he/she wants animals in the dining room.

Tamora Andrews
- Temple

Fri, 03/01/2019 - 2:11pm

Plain and simple....NO!

Patricia Maurer
- Sunapee

Sun, 02/24/2019 - 8:51pm

It should be an option for each individual restaurant .

Pamela Kendall
- Hudson

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 7:01pm

Yes, they should have the option but I don't want to eat in a restaurant filled with dogs.

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