New law would let bars and eateries go to the dogs

By Abigail Hartevelt


Dog owners may soon be allowed to take their four-legged friends along on a night out - although some Rotorua cafes already allow dogs in outside dining areas.

The Food Bill, which is before Parliament, would give bar and restaurant owners the option of allowing pets on to the premises. The practice is currently banned under the Food Hygiene Regulations 1974.

However, three Rotorua cafes spoken to by The Daily Post allow dogs outside.

"We are pretty dog-friendly at the moment. We have them in the courtyard but that is as far as we would allow them. I just feel that's a reasonable compromise for pet lovers and the non-animal people," said Sharon Mapp, the manager of Ngongotaha's Essence Cafe.

The owner of The Landing Cafe at Tarawera, who didn't want to be named, said they allowed dogs outside if they were on a lead or under the control of their owners.

"A lot of people bring their dogs to Lake Tarawera ... we've never had any problems."

Owner of The Office Cafe at Outdoorsman Headquarters, Simon Strickland, said allowing dogs in outside dining areas was a good idea particularly for a cafe like theirs which was close to the forest.

However, Mr Strickland said he wouldn't allow dogs inside his cafe.

"It's not a good environment. It's unhygienic particularly in a small environment."

Rotorua publican and New Zealand Hospitality Association vice-president Reg Hennessy did not think dogs should be allowed inside or outside bars, cafes and restaurants.

"I don't think they are places for dogs."

Mr Hennessy cited health and safety issues as a main reason but he was also concerned about what would happen if there was an incident where a dog "snapped" at a child.

"The responsibility could come back on us. We have enough other issues to police to have to worry about dogs as well."

There is a current ban on dogs in the Rotorua CBD except for walking them on a lead in Kuirau Park.

Rotorua District Council principal environmental health officer Allan Culpan said they had not as yet given any consideration to the possibility of the new bill allowing pets to be permitted on food premises.

"However, I expect we will do so once the bill is enacted."

Rotorua Dog Obedience Club president Jeanette Peacock said as a dog owner she wouldn't take her pets to a restaurant or cafe.

Mrs Peacock said her dogs were well trained but she could not necessarily trust other dogs.

"For the safety and well-being of my dogs, I wouldn't put them in that position."

A question posed on The Daily Post Facebook page asking people whether they thought dogs should be allowed in Rotorua's bars and restaurants attracted more than 45 comments and 13 likes but many were not in favour.

One person posted "no way thats pathetic restaurants and bars should only be for humans not animals" while another person said "outside areas yes but not inside".

Another reader posted "Bad for health and safety. You don't know what has been touching what. Disgusting really. I wouldn't eat in a place that has dogs".

One dog owner wrote "I think not ... I love my dogs but i certainly dont see the need to be taking them to a restaurant at all!".

A poll on The Daily Post website asked whether pets should be allowed in restaurants.

Of the 119 who voted, 71 per cent said no, it was a silly idea, 16 per cent said yes as pets were part of the family and 13 per cent said it depended on the pet.



- Rotorua Daily Post

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