Pups on Patios: A Health Code Violation

by Kaylyn Callahan, Animal Science/Global Public Health

There has been a recent law that has a large majority of Columbus citizens very distraught: no pups on the patio. Here’s the catch- the law is not really recent. Not allowing live animals in food related establishments is a law that has been set in place for ages.

Columbus, primarily the Short North Area has become very dog-friendly. Most shops in the area have had dog-friendly signs in their windows since it was likely a potential customer was already out walking their furry friend. Restaurants began hosting events with shelters or rescues and widening their consumer base. The popularity of these events is when the Franklin County Department of Health stepped in and sent out a reminder letter to food related establishments that they actually breaking the law. Ohio Uniform Food Safety Code Section 3717-1-6.4(O) to be exact.

Being a huge dog person who happens to have an interest in Public Health- I wondered how much of a danger dogs pose to my dinner. I’ve been eating in the same room as several animals, from dogs to goats, throughout the years and feel great. I think it becomes unsanitary if general health habits are ignored, like not washing your hands after petting a dog before digging in. But if I try to look at in from a business level, if this person who is not washing their hands after meeting a pet happens to be a server or cook, that’s when things get messy. It isn’t just limited to food, skin infections are a worry too. Not to mention bugs! Here are a few gross illness or diseases that can transfer to us humans:

• Salmonella, we all know this one. Causes vomiting, diarrhea
• Ringworm, caused by fungus. Transmitted through direct contact.
• Plague, including bubonic. Transferred through bodily fluids or flea bites. Causes fever, chills
• Pasteurellosis, a normal bacterium found in dog’s mouths. Could cause skin infections or affect nervous system in serious cases
• Giardia, a parasite. Transmitted through food or stool particles. Causes diarrhea, vomiting

Back to the server/cook analogy. Hands aren’t washed, germs are transferred to the food, plate is served to the customer. Customer gets sick, possibly chronically, and sues establishment. That is the worst case scenario. However, dogs are not likely to pose a threat if they are well-behaved, vaccinated, and have regular vet visits. Especially if they are in outdoor patios. We should trust our community and the businesses themselves to dictate on where dogs are allowed, though I do believe the Ohio Health Department should make guidelines.


Works Cited

Morgan, Tara. “No Pups on the Patio Allowed at Restaurants.” WSYX. FOX28, 25 May 2017. Web. 18 June 2017.
“Healthy Pets Healthy People.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 July 2016. Web. 18 June 2017.

This blog post was an assignment for Societal Issues: Pesticides, Alternatives and the Environment (PLNTPTH 4597). The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the class, Department of Plant Pathology or the instructor.

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