AUSTIN, Texas — Senator Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) recently filed legislation allowing restaurant patrons to be accompanied by a well-behaved and well-controlled dog in an outdoor dining area, such as a patio or sidewalk café. 

SB 476 would not require restaurants to permit dogs in outdoor dining areas, but provides that food service establishments statewide may do so if they choose. 

While many restaurants with outdoor dining options already allow people to bring along their furry friends, certain cities have enacted restrictions on these establishments including dog variance applications, periodic fees, extra inspections and burdensome rules. 

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"On a nice day, there's not much that beats finding an outdoor patio and enjoying a meal with friends or family," said Hancock. 

He said that for many Texans, dogs are part of their family, and restaurants that want to welcome dogs in their open, outdoor areas should be able to do so without any extra expenses added. 

This bill closely mirrors relatively permissive municipal regulation on this issue in the City of Austin. It allows people to be accompanied by the dogs, so long as the restaurant has an outdoor dining area or patio, the restaurant posts a sign stating dogs are permitted, the dog doesn't go inside, remains on a leash and doesn't sit in their chairs.

To read the full text of the bill and follow its progress, visit Texas Legislature Online at https://capitol.texas.gov/.