Crackdown on pets in Scott County restaurants

Scott County Health Department is enforcing a 2009 FDA ordinance

DAVENPORT, Iowa -  Dog owners in the Iowa Quad Cities have to think twice before taking their pets out on the town. 

"It's something that's a big draw for us here at Great River, is that people know that we're pet friendly," says Andrew Larson. 

Tap Manager Andrew Larson says Great River Brewery has allowed pets on their patio since the business first opened in 2009.

The brewery and other restaurants in downtown Davenport received a letter this week from the Scott County Health Department saying they can no longer allow pets on their patios.

Health department officials say this is not a new ordinance. 

A 2009 FDA Food Code indicates only service animals are allowed in a restaurant or bar patio. 

County officials say they're enforcing the ordinance due to an increase in complaints.  

"I don't see the difference really between a service dog and another pet. I don't think they're any cleaner you know. So I don't understand the concept of allowing one and not allowing the other, other than they do assist," says Burner. 

Jackie Burner, co-owner of Sippi's, says they allowed pets for about a year.

She says no one ever complained to their management, but one person did complain to the health department.

That forced them to stop allowing pets.  

"I guess if you get one complaint, that kind of spoils it for everybody," says Burner.

Justin Holstein who lives in Bettendorf says bringing pets is a big attraction for some people

He says it should be up to the restaurant and not the city to dictate this rule. 

"If any venue or establishment wants to have pets, it should be up to their judgment. I mean, it's going to ultimately be on their insurance if something goes array or there's a problem," says Holstein.  

Burner says allowing pets in an outdoor area is a better alternative than leaving them inside cars, especially during the summer, but she understand that there are rules.

"Well I think there has to be rules implemented. I'm sure they have good reason for doing what they do, it's just unfortunate that people can't have their pets and dine outside," says Burner.  

Some are optimistic that something can be done. 

"Hopefully it all gets worked out and we can continue to enjoy our furry friends," says Larson.  

The Scott County Health Department's letter also included an enforcement of no smoking in enclosed areas of a bar.

That includes offices, doorways, restrooms, hallways and storage rooms. 

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