It's a tough question, and it's one with few easy answers.

I've been noticed some Facebook debates questioning whether or not dogs should be allowed to eat outdoors with their owners in downtown Rochester. We're basically asking: should we become New York or France?

In case you missed it, there's been a recent discussion about this within the city council. It's a question of whether or not an ordinance limits businesses from choosing whether or not they can allow patrons with dogs on outdoor dining spaces. What's the "limiting" factor? Permits. Businesses need them in our area to do this if they choose to.


Here's the weird thing about this discussion: some restaurants and cafes are already allowing dogs on their patios. So why the debate?

Honestly, I'm not sure. It seems like businesses are happy with the rules as they stand. Lord knows I'm not qualified enough to translate city council jargon, but that's how I understand this situation. Here's the official wording for your own review.

Here are a few other questions I have:

  • Is our fall, summer, and spring, really long enough to allow this?
  • I love dogs, but do we want someone else's dog so close to our food?
  • Should this even be up for debate at all?

I might love dogs, but it's my personal choice not to eat near them if I can help it. My food is mine!!! Furthermore, I understand that other people wish to have the ability to bring their dogs to patios. Do I want them limited in doing that if they choose it? I'm not so sure. I am, however, sure that the beautiful thing about America is that we all have a choice as to where we do or don't eat.

Why not leave it to us to decide if this is a problem? Not our government. I'm pretty sure they have other things they'd like to focus on.

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