More And More Restaurants Opening Their Doors To Four-Legged Friends

flickr image by CameliaTWU
Before September 2011 there was no legislation to allow dogs on any restaurant or café property. Now over 30 restaurants in Houston have paid for a city permit so four-legged friends can dine alongside their owners.

It all started with Patrick Walsh and his dog Lucy about a year and a half ago. Walsh and Lucy were politely shooed off a Montrose restaurant’s patio area citing City of Houston law that prevented dogs from being on restaurant property. That was all it took to convince Walsh this law needed to be changed and so ‘Paws on Patios’ was born.

“We met with a number of folks from the City of Houston, including representatives from the health department and legal staff and three Houston City Council members, and enlisted their support in changing Houston’s rules.”

By September of 2011 a permit system had been agreed upon. Restaurants would pay a one-time fee of $110 dollar, allow an inspection of their property, adhere to certain sanitation rules and then they can welcome dog owners.

Now 33 restaurants have permits, including The Back Street Café and Little Big’s both in the Montrose area.

Walsh is happy, but he says we’re not completely in line with other Texas cities yet.

“Houston’s actually a little bit behind some of our sister cities in terms of the number of options that folks have to take their dogs. In Dallas, for example, 0.8% of restaurants and bars are permitted for dogs and in Houston that same number is 0.3%.”

Walsh’s goal for 2013 is to entice more restaurants to get permits to allow paws on their patios.

“I think it’s a really great way for restaurants to improve their bottom line but at the same time make Houston a more dog friendly place and pedestrian friendly place.”

Texas law states that dogs are not allowed on restaurant property. However individual cities can make an exception to that rule and in Texas that includes San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and now Houston.

You can find a full list of dog friendly restaurants and cafes here.  

Bio photo of Edel Howlin

Edel Howlin

Producer, Houston Matters

Edel is a producer on Houston Matters and reporter for PBS’s Newshour Weekend...