By Mike Pomranz
Updated May 15, 2015
Yappy Hour
| Credit: © Gianna Lucci

Who let the dogs out? The New York State Senate, that’s who (who who, who who).

Earlier this week, the legislative body passed a bill that would allow dog lovers to bring their pets along to outdoor cafés. Though many restaurants and bars have been known to ignore the current rules, as the law stands now, having a dog anywhere on the premises of a restaurant—indoors or out—is a health code violation. If this new bill passes the state Assembly and is signed into law by the governor, those rules would change. “People view their dogs and cats as family members,” Manhattan Assemblywoman and known pet lover Linda Rosenthal told the New York Post. “This is going to allow people to go to brunch with their family.”

New York isn’t the only state to deal with this issue recently. Back in August, California made it legal for people to bring dogs to outdoor cafés. And Rosenthal stressed that these new rules would only make it legal to allow dogs; it wouldn’t force restaurants to start accepting pets if they didn’t want to. “One of the great things about the bill is that it’s not a mandate,” she explained. “They don’t have to do it; they can choose to do it.”

Allowing dogs in bars has been an especially contentious issue in New York City recently. Most notably, The Gate in Brooklyn, a bar that has let dogs hang out on their patio since they opened in 1997, had to reverse their policy when they were fined after an anonymous complaint. But now dog owners should be able to return to drink with their pups once again. Hopefully, the dogs will behave better than certain other animals in a restaurant setting.