Doggie dinersSan Fransisco Schnauzers and Los Angeles Labradors, and the rest of our furry friends have something new to bark about -- and those would be barks of glee. A new law in California gives dog lovers the right to join their dogs at any canine-friendly restaurant -- in the patio eating area. Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation into action on Thursday. It abolishes previous health code regulations that prohibited restaurants from inviting dogs onto their premises.

The new law, however, comes with a dress code. Doggie diners must don their favorite collar and leash if they hope to be admitted into a California eatery. Barring a leash, the dogs must be inside their carriers -- or "doggie hotels." The legislation officially goes into effect next year.

The legislation represents a clarification of California state health code rules, which formerly banned dogs from joining patrons at restaurants completely -- even if the restaurant had a courtyard or patio. The former rule was confusing, though, because many dog-friendly local governments didn't enforce it, while other local governments did.

Aside from the leash and/or carrier requirements, there are some other restrictions that will apply to doggie diners. Dogs are only permitted at restaurants that have separate entrances for their patio areas. In other words, dogs will not be permitted to enter the main dining area. Dogs are also banned from sitting on chairs, visiting the kitchen and/or interacting with kitchen staff. Pet owners will also be liable if their dogs cause any kind of property damage while visiting the restaurant.

One California assembly woman bid everyone "bone-appetit." She said that restaurants throughout the state may see an increase in business as more customers will want to come to eat with their pet dogs. Or is it the other way around?

Individual restaurants will still have the right to be "dog friendly" or not, and local governments will also have the right to ban dogs from their restaurants separate from the state rules. In other words, in spite of the progressive nature of this new California law, the state does have a long way to go if dogs ever hope to have the same level of rights as their human counterparts.

What do you think? Should dogs have more or fewer rights in our world?

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