A Dog's Life - and Coffee Shops

Should coffee shops go to the dogs? According to several articles online, coffee lovers are divided over whether dogs should be allowed in coffee shops. Or should we say, US coffee lovers are divided, because pets of restaurant patrons in other parts of the world are welcomed in cafes. Krista Madsen reported this week on the struggle of Tarreytown NY roaster, Coffee Labs, to welcome dogs into their roastery-coffee shop.

Currently, the shop is asking for community support via a webpage so that their shop can be “the first official dog-friendly coffee house.” The local board of health said no, but then said there could be an waiver if some changes were made. There is disagreement over what happened since then, as now the position isn’t so clear. The basis of the problem is that the FDA prohibits live animals in retail establishments. Exceptions are of course made - in the case of service dogs - but that’s the only exception. States make their own laws concerning restaurants, but most honor the FDA rules and regs.

It’s really not clear why the FDA has taken its stance, because veterinarians will state that there are few health risks to having pets in restaurants. The main issues seem to be that staffers could succumb to temptations to pet visiting pooches and fail to wash their hands afterward. There was also a mention of dogs urinating inside the shop. Of course, dogs can be unpredictable and vary in personality. There are many who would never dare lift a leg in a coffee shop, but dogs will be dogs. Japan, of course, has the cat coffee shops, but those cats are residents, not visitors. Europe is more open to dogs, according to some sources, and at least one Middle Eastern country (Israel) has localities where dogs are welcome everywhere.

There are many cafes and restaurants in the US which allow dogs in outside areas. In the summer and in some southern states year round, dogs would be okay patrons as long as owners like the outdoors. Some coffee shops even provide special treats and water for the dogs of their outdoor diners. What do you think? Are you for or against Fido relaxing with you in a coffee shop? Please leave a comment and let us know.

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