After clearing the House of Delegates with a vote of 124 to 8, House Bill 941 has until the legislative session ends Monday to carry its offer of more customer service options onto the Senate floor and to the governor’s desk.
Delegates Mike McDermott (R-38) and Norm Conway (D-38B) differed on budget proposals, but both voted in favor of the pet-friendly measure because of its potential to boost consumer spending.
“This is a bill that will cost taxpayers nothing and has only the potential to increase disposable income from out-ofstaters,” said Delegate Dan Morhaim (D-11), who introduced the legislation.
“Businesses in North Carolina, California, Florida, Michigan and many cities around the country are reaping benefits from having introduced this.”
Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melanie Pursel said there is a growing trend of people traveling with their pets.
“People who treat their pets like their children are sometimes the ones with disposable income,” Pursel said. “I personally think this could be a good idea for businesses to offer something more to travelers. But it’s a fine line, like with the leash law on the beach.
Business owners would have one more thing to keep track of if they allow dogs in their patios.”
The bill would leave it up to bar owners on whether to allow dogs and what kind of dogs would be allowed on patios. The pet owners would be held responsible for managing Fido, Rover and Spot.
Along with displaying a sign for patrons and keeping the dog outside, the restaurant would have notify local health departments.
“Other states doing this only had isolated incidents in our judgment, so it’s something we decided to work on with Delegate Morhaim,” said Dr. Clifford S. Mitchell, assistant director for Health and Food Protection at the Maryland Department of Mental Health and Hygiene.
Ocean City already has a handful of pet-friendly hotels that claim to have harnessed extra tourism dollars from pet travel. Barefoot Mailman Motel’s owner Adam Showell said his hotel profits by working out a balance with pet owners and housekeeping working in concert. Housekeeping cannot enter a room if the pet is there without the owner, Showell said.
“Ocean City has lost my travel money in the past,” Treuth said. “I plan my vacation around Lacy Lou and I would love to see more pet-friendly.
Source; oceancitytoday.news http://www.oceancitytoday.net/news/2011-04-08/Top_News/If_passed_law_would_allow_pooches_on_restaurant_pa.html