With warm weather coming and the prospect of walking downtown with your furry friends, I am writing to remind both the restaurants allowing animals into their establishments, as well as the pet owners who think they can take their pets into a restaurant that it is not allowed. Along with your column “The Straight Poop” which actually highlights food establishments as being pet friendly, people think that they can bring their pets anywhere. This is not the case when it comes to establishments serving ready to eat foods (restaurants, pubs, supermarkets, etc). Idaho Food Code (and consequently, state law) clearly states that live animals are “not allowed on the premises of a food establishment.” In an exception to this code, “SERVICE ANIMALS” are allowed in areas not used for food preparation and that are usually open for customers such as dining and sales areas if a health or safety hazard will not result from the presence or activities of the service animal. These animals are CONTROLLED by the disabled employee or person. This means that your pet is not allowed inside or at an outside seating area/deck of a restaurant or supermarket unless it is a certified service animal.
Service animals do not need cuddling, do not sit on their owner’s lap, do not bother other patrons, do not beg and certainly do not eat from the table. There are hundreds of acres of prime dog-walking areas just minutes from your favorite local eatery, so take FiFi over there before you go out to eat, and then drop Fido off at home.
Not only is it unlawful to bring a pet into an eatery, it is also unsanitary, a public health risk and a liability for the restaurant.
Editors of the Reader: please stop your column The Straight Poop from publishing articles that highlight pet-friendly restaurants (pet-friendly stores, go for it!), because there is not one single restaurant in the state of Idaho that allows pets.