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Florida bill would require Fido to stay outside at restaurants

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Most four-legged patrons of pet-friendly restaurants would have to remain outside, under a bill proposed this week by state Rep. Bruce Antone, D-Orlando.

The proposal (HB 243), filed for consideration during the 2020 legislative session, would prohibit household pets from "traveling through or remaining in indoor portions" of public food establishments "in order to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the public."

While the bill wouldn't pre-empt existing local ordinances, it would direct the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation to adopt rules and create a publicly accessible website for complaints.

It also wouldn't bar service animals from accompanying their owners inside.

The tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida says on its website that, "Dog-friendly outdoor restaurants, bars and craft beer pubs abound throughout the state, some offering ‘yappy hour' canine-friendly designated times, others with an open-door doggie policy around the clock."

The 2020 legislative session will start Jan. 14.