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Ohio Law Allowing Dogs on Patios Goes Into Effect this Month

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Ohio Law Allowing Dogs on Patios Goes Into Effect this MonthDogs can now be on patios like this happy pup at BrewDog in Franklinton. Photo by Anne Evans.
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Canis non grata no longer — dogs will soon be allowed to accompany their owners on Ohio’s restaurant patios.

House Bill 263, which passed back in June, will effectively lift the ban on patio pups on Oct. 29. As it was, the law prohibited live animals, with the exception of service animals and police dogs, from indoor and outdoor dining areas. Spotty enforcement, however, enabled many establishments to continue the practice unhindered — until an official letter reiterating the ban was issued from Columbus Public Health last May.

Land-Grant Marketing Coordinator Julie Keys says the increased enforcement of the regulation forced the Franklinton brewery to implement a rule that was in line with the law, but out of line with their desired business practices. Known as a dog-friendly business, Land-Grant has hosted a range of pet-centric fundraisers for organizations like Columbus Humane, Canine Companions, Greyhound Rescue, and Rescued Ohio. On a Wednesday in April, they raised more than $3,500 for Columbus Humane.

“Shortly after [that event], they started enforcing the rule, and we weren’t able to host anymore of those types of fundraisers, which we thought was such a shame,” Keys says, “because we were able to do so much good in just one day.”

As a business, Land-Grant has advocated heavily for new legislation allowing four-legged friends on patios, hosting a press event for State Representative Laura Lanese, who sponsored the house bill, and Sen. Bill Coley, who sponsored the companion bill. Keys also presented a testimony on the Senate floor earlier this year.

In the testimony, Keys stressed autonomy for small businesses, reasoning that they should be trusted to make decisions and implement a pet policy that keeps a clean environment while hosting dogs on the patio. Their new policy will allow dogs on their patio and in their beer garden. And, while Ohio law doesn’t prohibit it, Land-Grant employees won’t be allowed to touch the dogs while working their shifts.

When asked about the potential alienation of customers who have dog allergies or just don’t like the animals, Keys said their policy would allow for those individuals to visit the brewery comfortably.

“We have such a large space, we don’t allow dogs indoors, and we have a really large taproom,” she says, “so if somebody is bothered by the presence of dogs, they can easily remedy that by heading inside or moving across the beer garden to another area.”

“And honestly, we’ve never had complaints about dogs on our patio,” she added, “but we did hear from a lot of people who were wanting to bring their dogs and couldn’t.”

Land-Grant is co-hosting an event with Bark on Oct. 27., partly in celebration of the enactment of HB 263, and mostly to celebrate Halloween. The party will include food, music, and a costume contest for dogs and owners.

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