Dogs in Outdoor Dining Areas - New Chapter 32 in Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Saturday, April 23, 2016
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 


Statement of Basis and Purpose

Statutory Authority

 This amendment to Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York (“RCNY”) is promulgated pursuant to sections 556 and 1043 of the New York City Charter (“the Charter”).  Section 556 of the Charter broadly authorizes the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (“the Department”) to regulate all matters pertaining to the health of the City, including the City’s food supply.  Section 1043 grants the Department rule-making authority.




New York State Public Health Law (“PHL”) §1352-e authorizes operators of food service establishments to allow companion or pet dogs to accompany owner-patrons in certain outdoor dining areas of their establishments, subject to control measures approved by a locality’s enforcement agency.

 In the City of New York (“the City”), the Department is the local enforcement agency, and the Commissioner of the Department is the “permit issuing official” designated in the New York State Sanitary Code (10 NYCRR Chapter 1) to enforce provisions of the Sanitary Code applicable to the operation of food service establishments.  Food service establishments in the City are also subject to provisions of the New York City Health Code, Chapter 23 (Title 24 of the RCNY) and various provisions of the New York City Administrative Code and the State Public Health Law.  The Department’s Division of Environmental Health enforces the provisions of the Administrative, Sanitary and Health Codes and Department rules applicable to food service establishments.

 PHL §1352-e was enacted in 2015. It overrides New York City Health Code §81.25 and New York State Sanitary Code §14-1.183, which prohibit live animals, other than service animals or food fish in an establishment’s tank, from being in a food service establishment.  PHL §1352-e gives owners of food service establishments the discretion to decide whether to allow  companion dogs into their establishments,  provided that the “owner ensures compliance with local ordinances related to sidewalks, public nuisance and sanitation; and … such other control measures approved by the enforcement agency are complied with.”   This new Chapter 32 constitutes the “control measures approved by the enforcement agency.”

  Chapter 32

 The control measures in Chapter 32 are necessary to safeguard public health and safety. The new Chapter contains the following provisions.

 Definitions. Defines terms used in the Chapter in accordance with definitions used in the New York City Health Code and other applicable law. A definition for “service dog” has been added to clarify that service dogs are defined in accordance with the definition of “service animal” by the U.S. Department of Justice in implementing the Americans with Disability Law.

 Policies. Reinforces that food service establishments may under State law prohibit all dogs, other than service dogs, from entering their establishments.  If an owner or operator chooses to allow companion dogs to be in an establishment’s outdoor dining area, this section requires that the establishment have certain policies. In response to comments, and because dogs in New York City are already required to be  licensed and currently vaccinated against rabies, food service establishment operators will not be required to enforce these provisions before permitting patrons’ pet dogs in outdoor dining areas.

 Signage. Requires that permittees who choose to allow companion dogs to be in their establishments post signage and clarifies that all food service establishments must allow service dogs accompanying persons with disabilities to be in all areas of their establishments.  

 Sanitary conditions. Specifies how sanitary conditions are to be maintained. The original proposal required a barrier to “prevent” contact between dogs in outdoor dining areas on sidewalks and pedestrians and dogs on the adjacent sidewalk. This requirement has been amended to allow a food service establishment to use a barrier or other method that “effectively limits” such contact.

 Violations. Provides that any violation of this Chapter will be cited as a violation of and bear the same penalties as a violation of §81.25 of the Health Code.