Dogs in Restaurants?

By an edhat reader

I bought a sandwich at South Coast Deli. As I was waiting I saw a dog partially standing on a table. I was floored that the owner allowed this considering that someone else would sit there soon, but I also noticed that the staff did nothing. Is this now allowed by the Health Department? It seems strange, but with the radical changes in Santa Barbara I’d say anything is possible now.


Written by LocalinSB

What do you think?


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  1. Any Dogs in restaurants – NO!
    Service Dogs that are licensed & certified trained – OUTSIDE ONLY
    This entire “comfort/service” dog thing is beyond out of control especially on planes! The last four flight we’ve taken the past two years have all had at least two dogs on board. Seriously! Put it in a dog crate & let it go in the under cabin storage section for pets. It won’t freeze to death, etc.
    Don’t like that?
    Either leave the dog at home OR don’t travel.

  2. I can’t believe all these hateful comments..
    Take my dog, about once a week to the outside seating area of local eateries.
    A friend, watches my dog when I go in to order…
    Most dog owners, do the same thing..They usually have separate entrances..

  3. I thought I was the only one who was getting annoyed at the explosion of entitled dog owners bringing their dogs everywhere. I am feeling a bit better now that I have seen I am not the only one. My biggest peeve with dogs these days is dog owners letting their dogs run loose on every trail in our area. No concept that wildlife has a right not to be terrorized in this way. (Not to mention that hikers have a right not to be terrorized in this way.)

  4. Dogs are allowed at outdoor dining areas in SB, since 2011, at the discretion of the establishment. And subject to criteria outlined by the Health Department.
    1 – All surfaces on the patio will be cleaned and sanitized (114115.b, 114117(a)(5))
    2 – Table tops will be sanitized between each seating of patrons (114083)
    3 – Dogs will not have contact with dishes, utensils, tableware, linens or paper products used by patrons (114074)
    4 – Food and water served to dogs will be in single-use, disposable containers (114081)
    5 – Food spilled on patio will be immediately cleaned up (114257)
    6 – Restaurant employees will not touch or pet dogs while working. If they do, they will wash their hands. Restaurant employees will be trained on this requirement for hand washing.114259.4
    7 – Food facilities not meeting the conditions for safe patio food service with animals on the premises, will be cited for violations of the Health and Safety Code. (114259.5, 114397, 113980)

  5. A finger-wagging narc shared with the health department artfully disguised as an innocent inquiry. Ohhh-Kay. I’ll bite.
    If a dog’s paws are the worst thing that rests upon a restaurant table, we should all be thankful. OP please research the amount of fecal matter found on cell phones. Look up which germs/bacteria found on the floors of restaurants are transferred to tabletops when a woman’s handbag or or some shopping bag resting on the floor is then moved onto the tabletop. Please ponder the infinite amount of microbes contained in those damp used-over-and-over cloths the busboys/wait persons drag across the tops of the tables in between seatings of restaurant patrons. (“Sanitized?”) If taking into account outdoor tables, please consider how many times you’ve seen some ignoramous 1/2-seated or fully seated on a tabletop. Dogs’ paws don’t give me pause so much as does human-shared “dirt.”

  6. I don’t know who “Bigone” is, but what are YOU talking about? I have not been to all European countries, but those that I have been to (France, England, Scotland, Italy, Germany) have had dogs in at least a few of the restaurants I’ve been to, including indoor dining areas. And I’ve found more human hair in my food at restaurants than dog hair as your other comment claims. You certainly have a right to your opinion, but you obviously are not a dog lover. It does seem more and more dog owners are bringing their pets to restaurants, but I see no harm in it if they are confined to outside areas and health regulations are followed. I think I heard a news report that at least 10 states allow dogs in designated areas in eating establishments with more predicted to follow, so you’d better get used to it or just dine inside where you go.

  7. I do understand the service dog abuse claim..anybody can claim that their pet is a service animal.
    For 15 years, I have been a trained Hospice pet therapist..gone to nursing homes, assisted living homes, private homes…
    Just want to eat on an outside patio with our nice weather and my dog stays right under the table.
    Have 2 rescue dogs I would never do that with.
    Most of us are really responsible…

  8. Simple solution to this one: Service dogs need to be certified and the certificate embossed like birth certificates are. Laminate it, attach it to the dog’s collar and be ready to show it. Every one else, Take your pets to places set up for them–dog parks, to lunch at the home of a similarly inclined friend, etc.

  9. Winter, I agree with you. There definitely seems to be an abuse of “service” and “therapy” dog claims. However, from what I have experienced, most owners who bring their dogs to pet-friendly restaurants or brew pubs seem quite responsible and I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone be offended or taken aback that someone has their dog there. In fact, most of the time I see people coming up to dogs that aren’t even there own and either petting or complementing the owner on how nice their dog is. I know I certainly have. And what is with all these negative comments from posters here about “slob American dog owners”? I don’t get it – most of the owners I have seen at public places with their dogs are not “slobs”. In fact, when I think about, most dogs seem to have better manners than a lot of humans I’ve encountered.

  10. I’ve also seen dogs in Sprouts and Lazy Acres. One of them smelled like the animal had sprayed. I reported them to the California Department of Public Health. I never heard back but am hoping that the stores did. I can’t believe that people would think that bringing dogs into a store is OK.

  11. Winter – Really? Just because some people don’t like sharing their restaurant dining experience with dogs, doesn’t make them “dog haters.” I LOVE my pup and have always had dogs, but never dragged them to restaurants or shops and shared tables with them. They’re dogs. They like to run and play in their yards, not get tied to a metal table while you sit and eat. Some people!

  12. I would never tie my dog up…or have it anywhere but beside me.
    Am surprised, mostly on the Mesa, about this.
    Didn’t mean to go on this thread so long…we need to talk at a forum or something….
    Just rented a house….got picked over people with small dogs have references.

  13. I have a very sweet and friendly pet white rat, Siegfried. Since food/restaurant patios are pet friendly, I’m going to take my rat with me today for lunch. It’s my pet, and emotional support, and the restaurant can’t discriminate against me, or my pet. The dogs won’t mind. Like dogs and cats, rats can be the source of disease (so, I’m going to take it to Cottage Hospital today for letting people pet/touch it), “Transfer occurs when fleas from the rats bite human beings. Fleas transported on rats are considered responsible for this plague during the Middle Ages, which killed millions. From the transmission of bubonic plague to typhus and hantavirus, rat infestations can prove harmful to human health.” I love my rat and I insist you look the other way, just like dog owners.

  14. TYPHUS. Pasadena CA reported epidemic levels of typhus fever in 2018 when 20 Pasadena residents were confirmed to have typhus fever, “We encourage pet owners to practice safe flea control.” Pasadena Public Health Department. In Oct. 2018, there were 57 cases of flea-borne typhus in L.A. County. In S.B. you don’t know if an animal has just come off a hike in the mountains and is now sitting next to you, your children, anyone with autoimmune illness, your own pet. The homeless with their dogs have every “right” to bring dogs into restaurants. It takes an instant for a flea to jump off an animal onto a human or another dog. COTTAGE HOSPITAL, are you listening?

  15. LOCALINSB, were you served your sandwich directly onto the table? No plate, no paper wrapping, no clingfilm? Your food was never in direct contact with any area the pooch touched with his paws. People with far more questionable hygiene have touched and slathered on these outdoor surfaces that have probably not been washed since they left their manufacturing plant. So you’re grossed out… fine. Get over it.

  16. ADDENDUM – Babies are allowed to touch and crawl over tables used for serving food. Have you seen babies wash their hands before coming to the table? Have you seen where babies go and what they touch or even bring to their mouths? Way more disgusting than dogs. Now had you been talking about the outdoor tables at Arigato I’d be right with you at keeping pooches floored but SoCoastDeli?? That’s on the par with Starbucks and I’m sure you’ve seen WHO uses the outdoor tables there.

  17. I always had dogs and never took them into town. They ran free at home, went to the beach and for walks but not into others’ territory. They only got in the car for going to the Veterinarian. Why are people so insecure they need to take their “dog/children” everywhere?

  18. Every woman I know who has a condition that requires a service animal (and yes, they’re all women) also happen to be wrapped up in pseudo-science and crockery. Whether its the latest cure all trend (cumin this year) or the insanity of being anti-vaccination, I see a correlation between those who distrust medical science and rely on their feelings to guide their health choices and the sudden need for a service animal at their side at all times. Feelings are not facts people…

  19. SB Observer, you’ve got it backwards. Service animals are there for a medical need and specific tasks. HOWEVER I do know two male veterans, and another male with a brain injury, that bona-fide require Support animals. The co-dependent animal owners who just want an excuse to bring FiFi everywhere they go really ruin it for those people with genuine needs.

  20. It’s actually sad to see all the comments here as it reminds me of a political dispute in today’s far-left, far-right country. I love dogs, I own a dog and always will, so obviously I don’t mind them in public establishments. But I do believe they should be well-mannered, controlled, not infringing upon other patrons, and certainly not jumping up or sitting on tables or defecating. But I also don’t believe all the sanitary worries that have been posted here. No one has mentioned that the most disease laden item at a restaurant you are likely to encounter is the menu you hold in your hands, not the dog at a table next to you. And no one has mentioned that studies have proven that people (i.e., children) who grow up around dogs have a far greater resistance to disease and infection. Any “Anti-Whataboutism” advocates, please stop reading now, even though this is not a “whataboutism”: To quote from a medical publication, “We live in a society hell-bent on becoming sterile, and as a result, children are not being exposed to enough bacteria and stimulants that help form a robust immune system. The Journal of Pediatrics pointed out that kids who grow up with dogs are less likely to get sick than children who live without. They also connected family dogs to a lower risk of allergies.” Indeed, I cannot recall ever getting sick from a dog, but I can certainly tell you I have gotten colds and the flu from human beings in public places. And for those of you who are dog-phobic about canines being in public places, I suggest you never visit France, Italy, Germany, Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, Slovenia, or many other European countries. Someone’s dog just might lick you in a pub or restaurant 🙂

  21. County ordinance regarding dogs in restaurants link below
    Comments on Edhat often can’t be taken as a representation of a reflection of the population. Hot button topics tend to bring out more anti comments and don’t account for the majority who don’t give a rip. So many restaurants in SB don’t last a year, yet Brewhouse has been dog friendly for over 20 years and Mesa Cafe over 30, probably longer than the negative commenters have lived here.
    I have a low tolerance for family friendly places where kids run around screaming so I don’t go to those places. If dogs are a pet peeve, there are other choices.

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