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Restaurants could go to dogs

CONCORD - People may soon be able to bring dogs to restaurants with outdoor seating after the state House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill allowing the presence of canine companions.

The bill, HB 390, which passed 307-25, would allow restaurant owners to decide whether to let patrons bring "properly disciplined and leashed companion dogs of restaurant patrons onto any outdoor patio areas owned by the restaurant."

According to the bill, which will go to the Senate for consideration, dogs would not be allowed in food preparation areas and patrons would be limited to one pooch apiece.

The bill further also places an emphasis on service animals, saying restaurant owners must post a sign reading, "To preserve the rights of patrons with service animals, patrons with companion dogs shall be asked to move if the presence of that companion dog interferes with the service animal's ability to obey commands or assist its handler."

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