Lexington restaurant redoing patio area to allow dogs and owners to eat

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - An online petition pushing for dogs to be allowed on the porch of a new local restaurant is gaining more attention. The petition surfaced after the local health department said FDA rules prohibit animals on the premises of restaurants.

The petition is calling for the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department to allow dogs on the patio of the newly opened Double Dogs in Hamburg. More than 4,600 people signed the motion.

The Double Dogs chain prides itself on being dog-friendly. A spokesman for the company says they are working on the patio area of the restaurant to make it compliant with FDA rules. They plan to have the space ready for owners and their dogs to eat in this weekend.

"As we speak we are busy moving some railings, opening it up, making more of a little park area where they will be able to relax with their animal and have some good double dogs food," explained John Morrison.

He says they are transforming the area into a self-service section where customers will order/pickup their food and drinks at a window. He says this will keep the wait staff from maintaining the area. They hope this change will make the area not fall under the federal food safety code.

The health department says their food safety inspections are mainly complaint driven. Meaning they are not out at all times checking for violations, but if a complaint is filed they will send an inspector out.

Commissioner of Health Dr. Kraig Humbaugh said they have not received any complaints about dogs in restaurants recently, but that it has happened in the past.

"We have been in conversation with the state health department about how this particular part of the law is being implemented throughout the state and nationally in other states as well," said Dr. Humbaugh.

Humbaugh says another confusing point with this part of the federal food code is how you determine what is and isn't defined as the restaurant premises. He says if an area is defined as a common area outside of the restaurant, dogs are allowed.

Double Dogs does have a few other locations in the state including in Louisville; a health department spokesman there says the dog-friendly policy hasn't caused any issues.

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