The Douglas County 'dog-friendly' patio ordinance and what it means for businesses and pet owners alike

Posted at 7:38 PM, Jul 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-14 20:38:02-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Summer is a natural time for pet owners to take their companions outside. But when it comes to dining out, there are some limitations to where pets can go.

"We're one of the only places in Omaha that's permitted to have dogs in our facility," said Jessica Todd, the assistant general manager for the Omaha Dog Bar.

In Omaha, there are only two locations that have active permits for the "dog-friendly" patio ordinance: Omaha Dog Bar and the Bull Moose.

"Basically, a special acceptation that they (businesses) have applied for and approved to have through the health department that allows them to have patrons bring dogs to an outside patio," said Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse.

Huse also said they've received many complaints about pets at restaurants.

"You know, there are people out there who have severe allergies to pets or to animals — to dogs," said Dr. Huse. "Dogs also can track all sorts of germs in on their paws when they're coming in."

That's why the health department has specific rules when it comes to having animals in public establishments where food and drink are served. It poses a health risk.

Huse said many places have had them, but they haven't renewed them. When the health department gets complaints, typically it just means they'll have a conversation with the business.

"We understand that things happen, people forget to renew things like that. We get it, so we just want to work with them to rectify that," said Huse.

For pet owners, they should first check with the restaurant before bringing their pets.

For businesses, they can apply for the permit or renew it through the Douglas County Health Department's website at

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