NY Bans Dogs in Restaurants

I saw a conversation brewing on Facebook over this post over on Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan’s Website. It seems that health code inspectors are now all about enforcing regulations that ban non-service animals from bars and restaurants in New York City. Business owners are said to usually ignore the rules when customers brought in their furry friends … but no more!

More than a couple of commenters on the post are angered at the recent turn of events, one saying “Pets are also part of our family so they shouldn’t be banned as a law.”

I strongly disagree.

Sure, pets are part of the family. I know that I’m not the biggest animal lover out there but I can absolutely understand the love and adoration humans feel for their pets. They’re living beings with feelings and personalities and deserve respect and a spot in the family holiday card. In fact, we’ve got a couple of dogs of our own.

But while you may love your pet as much as your own mother, pets are not people. I don’t care if you dress it up, buy it a stroller and take out a life insurance policy, your dog should not be allowed inside a restaurant, unless it he/she is needed in order for you to live a productive life.

Why?

Because it’s unsanitary, for starters. I could go into the many reasons why but I think I make my point with just one: YOUR DOG EATS POOP. Not only that, but she also sniffs the butts of other dogs and doesn’t have the common courtesy to keep her nose out of my girlie parts when saying hello.

Your beloved pet has no place at the table, by the table or under the table. And what about the allergies of the unsuspecting, innocent people around your table? Are they not entitled to remain healthy while dining? My own child’s allergies could send him to the ICU with an asthma attack. Is it my job to drug him before dining out because you can’t leave Fido at home? It’s bad enough we spent a cross country flight on Virgin America staring at the back end of a Lhasa Apso while filling my son with medication… there’s no way we should have to do that in a restaurant.

For those who say their dog is better behaved than toddlers in a restaurant… okay. But a toddler is a human. And toddlers aren’t the problem, the problem is parents who think their kid is so darn cute when she squeals like a mouse or plays peek-a-boo with the next booth for 45 minutes straight. The kid needs some guidelines and to be removed if not behaving appropriately — that’s the price we pay as parents.

But back to the animals. Please, for the love of Benji, don’t mistake this post as an anti-animal message. But where’s the line here, people? We allow your precious pooch into a restaurant, what about those with cats? And you know there are the rat, hamster, snake, ferret, pot-bellied pig pet owners that will want equal rights. It’s a slippery slope here, people — one covered in pet hair, sneezes and butt-dragging remnants.

I vote NO to pets in bars and restaurants.

What say you?

 

 

 

Flying with Pets: Where Are the Boundaries?

NOTE: Below is Virgin America’s response via Twitter

As we settled down in our seats for a cross-country, redeye flight last week, I couldn’t help but feel a bit disappointed when a couple and their under-two lap baby plopped down next to me. Parent or not, no one wants to be caught in the crossfire of a tantruming toddler, especially when trying to get my own three to fall asleep.

My babies

One week later — aka right this second, thanks to in-flight WiFi– we’re on our way back, but this time the baby has been replaced by a dog. That’s right, a dog. I’m not anti-dog (I have a couple of my own) and he’s certainly a cute little woofer, but is it seriously okay to bring your dog into a flight’s main cabin with no carrier? Where does he pee on a six hour flight? How does he eat? Am I going to have to sniff his dog food at some point this morning? What about people with dog allergies? Are they warned that a pup will be seated next to them?

Their baby

I suppose I would have less of a problem with the situation if the pooch’s parents — an elderly couple that lives half the year in Boston and the other half in California — were even just the slightest bit aware of flight and/or pet owner etiquette. For example, here are my kids… 7, 5.5 and 4. I’m completely armed with snacks, electronics and rules for keeping their voices (and feet) down. Yet my friends to the right are snoozing (snoring, even) while their furry friend sniffs, licks and stares at every morsel of food I happen to pull out. Interestingly enough, as I browsed Virgin America’s Website, I found that pets are supposed to remain enclosed in their kennel while onboard. Yet not one flight attendant has said anything to the owners of the dog.

When I asked around on Facebook and Twitter whether people would rather be seated next to a baby or dog, the results were pretty even. Michelle, Tim and Melissa vote baby, along with Edie who encountered a similar situation recently. “Last flight I was on there was a dog. I discreetly mentioned as we were boarding that I have asthma. Once settled, the same employee came on, whispered to me the dog was in the last row.” But while it may be surprising to just me, just as many were on Team Dog.

But no matter which way you lean when it comes to an aisle mate, shouldn’t there be boundaries for parents of two-legged and four-legged babies alike?

UPDATE: Four hours into our flight and the dog remains being passed back and forth from one owners’ lap to the other. Meanwhile, I’ve had to eat my sandwich while standing up just to get the dog’s nose out of my face and have had to up my son’s allergy/asthma meds as a precaution (hoping to avoid a mid-flight nebulizer). The more I have thought about this situation, the more disappointed I get with Virgin America. Is it my job as a parent to ensure they enforce their own rules (animals to remain in a carrier)? I paid over $1500 to fly myself and my three children across the country. I work hard to ensure the people around us are not bothered by excess talking, kicking or other behaviors that can accompany bored children. Are we not entitled those same comforts?

UPDATE 6/30: Virgin America responded to my concerns privately via Twitter.

Virgin America VirginAmerica Read your post. Very sorry, but airlines are legally required to allow “emotional support pets” outside of carriers. We try to notify guests sitting nearby in advance in case of an allergy. Pls accept our apology for not doing so. We’re deeply sorry.

I asked them a few more questions but have gotten no response.