Marylanders Soon May Be Dining With Dogs

Lawmakers sponsoring bill to allow dogs at outdoor eateries.

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    BEIJING - FEBRUARY 23: A pet dog is fed food in Coolbaby Pet Restaurant on February 23, 2006 in Beijing, China. The restaurant claims to be the first in Beijing to provide fancy and healthy food to both pets and their owners. Coolbaby Pet Restaurant's owners hope the restaurant will a meeting point for animal lovers in the Chinese capital. As living standards improve for humans in China, many are showering their pets with the same care and attention. (Photo by Guang Niu/Getty Images)

    Nothing says summer like dining al fresco.  And for many people, that experience would be even better if they could take their dogs.

    Delegate Dan K. Morhaim is sponsoring the “Dining Out Growth Act of 2011.”  He tells the Baltimore Sun that the law would give a much-needed boost to the state’s restaurant industry.

    “Frankly, anything that develops economic activity right now is good, “ Del. Morhaim tells the Sun.  “Now when people are outside and walking their dogs, they’ll walk by a place where they’d like to stop and eat.  But they won’t because they can’t.”

    Currently, allowing dogs to accompany restaurant patrons, whether it be indoors or outdoors, is illegal.  Restaurants who ignore the rule can be fined.

    On Tuesday, the “Dining Out Growth Act of 2011” will be discussed at a hearing before the House of Delegates and Government Operations Committee.  According to the Sun, the proposal has the support of many Maryland restaurants, the Humane Society of the United States and the Maryland Health Department.

    If passed, the law would take effect in October.  Florida, California and Minnesota already have similar laws in place.