Dog owners in a Bucks County town are fuming over a policy banning their beloved pets from restaurants.
The Bucks County Health Department sent a letter to restaurants in New Hope, stating that dogs are not allowed at any establishments with outdoor eating areas where food and drinks are prepared. Now New Hope residents are seeing more and more “no dogs allowed” signs at restaurants throughout the community.
“I moved here specifically because it was a dog friendly town,” said dog owner George Weihs.
“If there is a sign that says ‘pet friendly,’ if you don’t want to be there then go find someplace else,” said Mary Weihs.
While County Health Officials say the state law has been in effect for years, dog owners claim it was never enforced until now. The Bucks County Health Department told NBC10 the policy has always been enforced however when they witnessed violators. One official claimed on the day of the most recent inspection, they saw so many violators, they sent letters to all the restaurants in the town, not just the violators.
One exemption allows dogs on patios where there are no food or drink preparations. Bitter Bob’s is one of the three restaurants in town that can allow animals.
“It’s not an overall good thing for the town,” said Bob Kascik of Bitter Bob’s. “It seems like it’s taking more of the fun away from traveling to New Hope for a day.”
Grant Waldman, the owner of Wildflower, tells NBC10 he’s taking advantage of another exemption in the policy that allows service dogs.
“As people come in, I ask them if their dog is a service or comfort dog,” said Waldman. “They look me straight in the eye and say, ‘yes.’ I say ‘fine, come in.’”
The Health Department says the policy allows the restaurant owner to ask any dog owners to take their pet outside for a violation. The restaurant owner can then take unspecified legal action against the pet owner if he or she returns with the animal.