No dogs allowed? Breweries say health department changing rule

Green Room Brewing starts online petition to fight rule banning dogs


JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – You may no longer be able to bring your dogs with you the next time you head to a brewery around Jacksonville.

Green Room Brewing in Jacksonville Beach recently received a letter from Florida's Department of Health detailing a change in the definition of "food." The letter says in part: 

“No live birds or animals except for crustacea, shellfish and fish in aquariums shall be allowed in a food service establishment. …  Although Bars under the Department of Health do not have traditional food service, (code) 64E-11 defines food as any raw, cooked or processed edible substance, ice, beverage or ingredient used or intended for use in whole, or in part, for human consumption.”

READ: Full letter from Florida Department of Health

Mark Stillman, who owns Green Room, said he isn't letting this go and started a Change.org petition to bring attention to this issue. 

“I think we are going to see a big reaction,” Stillman said. “I know we don't think that definition is correct. We don't have a license to serve food. We don't want to prepare or serve food here, and we think it is unnecessary.” 

The Change.org petition, which Stillman said was started about 1 a.m. Thursday, had more than 4,600 signatures by 4:30 p.m.

According to the health department, animals are still allowed on patio areas at local taprooms, and service animals are never prohibited.

A Duval County health official released a brief statement, saying "DOH-Duval enforces current law and rules. Only service animals are allowed in the establishment."

Southern Swells Brewing Co. is also fighting the rule change and is encouraging those interested in helping to sign the Green Room's Change.org petition.

“Please be assured that we love having dogs and their owners in our brewery and will do everything we can to promote changing this part of the code,” Southern Swells wrote on its Facebook page.