BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.- Bonita Springs is looking to get the green light on an ordinance that would allow man's best friend to be in a designated outdoor seating area of a restaurant.
"It's the Sunshine State, they're outside, as long as their behaved dogs," said Randy Jackson, Manager of The Fish House Restaurant.
It would be a 'win' for restaurants in Bonita Springs to roll out the welcome mat for man's best friend.
"We have a lot of people that bring them, they really enjoy it, their dogs even like it!"
In fact, The Fish House Restaurant on Bonita Beach Road treats the pets that come in just like anyone else.
"We have some that get their dogs cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, just like a regular customer," said Jackson.
But the problem is Florida's state law says you can only allow service dogs inside restaurants, unless the city code states otherwise. The City of Bonita Springs didn't know that and doesn't have a city code. They have always allowed dogs outdoors, which is why they are now pushing for council to approve the local ordinance.
"We get a lot of the same people, but it might help bring in people that don't know we allow them, that would be good," Jackson explained.
The pet permit also comes with rules. Every dog will need to remain on a leash and a sanitation policy will be placed on each establishment, but not everyone sees this in a positive light.
"A lot of people are scared of dogs and it could ruin someones whole evening, or at least dinner," said restaurant customer, Ann Pancotto.
Pancotto says dogs simply belong at home.
"It wouldn't stop us from going to our favorite restaurant like The Fish House, but it will change where we decide to sit next time."