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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Your Dog Is Dirty

posted by on February 28 at 15:17 PM

Ken Jacobsen’s “doggy diner” bill—the one that would, to our great horror, have allowed dogs in all Washington bars—suffered a minor setback in the legislature this week, but is still moving forward in amended form.


The new version of Jacobsen’s bill would allow leashed dogs in outdoor areas of restaurants, such as patios—better than everywhere, I guess, but still the top of a long, slippery slope that could end up screwing over those of us who don’t want your dog jumping in our laps while we try to enjoy a burger at Linda’s. At the risk of quoting oneself:

Dogs are not babies. They are no different than any other pet. (Should cats be allowed in bars, too? How about “well-behaved” snakes? Rats?) You can leave them home alone. If you really can’t bear to be without your precious pooch for even a couple of hours, then find a recreational activity that doesn’t infringe on everyone else’s ability to enjoy a clean, healthy, slobber-free space. I already have to deal with your dogs running, leash-free, through Cal Anderson Park; jumping on me because you assume that everyone will find your cutesy wootsy puppy wuppy as adorable as you do; shitting all over the ground where I’d planned to have a picnic; and barking at me from the bike rack where you tied them, heedless of the fact that bike racks are for bikes, not your slobbering mutt.

Which pretty much sums up why I don’t want dogs dominating my outdoor dining, too. And before you codependent dog-owners start going off about how “the inside of a dog’s mouth is cleaner than the inside of a human’s mouth,” (not true) allow me to point out that dogs eat garbage. They also sniff each other’s butts; roll around in poo; and eat the rotting carcasses of other animals. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that — I just don’t want your dog’s poo-and-rotting-flesh-mouth in proximity to my food. (Besides, many people are allergic to dog dander or afraid of dogs; conversely, many dog owners are inattentive and some dogs are aggressive.)

For reference, here’s a handy list of diseases you can get from dogs:

Brucellosis; campylobacter; cryptosporidiosis; hookworm; leishmaniasis; leptospirosis; Lyme disease; Q fever; ringworm; Rocky Mountain spotted fever; roundworm; salmonellosis; tapeworm; yersiniosis; and, of course, rabies.

RSS icon Comments


It's true. My dog eats shit now and then. I suspect it's human shit that he goes for; dog shit doesn't seem to attract his attention.

Posted by Amy Kate Horn | February 28, 2007 3:27 PM

If this fucking bill passes you can bet your ass that I will be carting around a team of tethered pet rats to take into EVERY single restaraunt that allows dogs in.

Wait a second ... I came in with 12 rats and now there's an empty leash!

I can not wait.

Posted by Tony Danza's the Boss | February 28, 2007 3:32 PM

I love dogs as much as the next guy but I don't want them in restaurants or grocery stores.

My dog respected the imaginary line between the living room where he was allowed and the kitchen/dining room where he was not.

Posted by monkey | February 28, 2007 3:37 PM

Wouldn't the bill simply allow restaurant and bar owners to decide if dogs are allowed in? You write as if it would require all restaurants to admit dogs and seat them at your table. If it were to pass, some restaurants and bars would admit dogs and you'd be free to spend your money in those that didn't.

I'm not a dog fan, but if a bar owner thinks s/he can make more money by admitting dogs (and still pass health inspections) I see no reason to prohibit him/her from doing so. Other bar owners, most of them, will decide they can make more money by not admitting dogs, so they won't.

Posted by pox | February 28, 2007 3:47 PM

They let dogs in restaurants in Europe, but the dogs are super well-behaved, sit under the table during the meal and don't bother anyone. Unfortunately, I don't think that would work here.

Perhaps a dog of a certain size would be okay. My friend takes her little dog to the Canturbury with us and it just lies down in the booth and sleeps.

Posted by dog | February 28, 2007 3:47 PM

It doesn't require they allow dogs right? Just lets a venue choose to allow them, and places that don't cater to that kind of thing can still keep dogs out?

So then what's the problem? Other than you might discover that your favorite hangout doesn't consider you to be the model of their target market, which is a major letdown for a certain kind of narcissist.

Posted by elenchos | February 28, 2007 3:48 PM

Screw the "Dogs in Bars bill".. Senator Jacobson just sided with the Republicans and Tim Sheldon (Remember him) to kill the Simple Majority for Education senate bill. When is Seattle going to elect a real Democrat instead of him?

Posted by Jake of | February 28, 2007 3:50 PM

can i point out that, whereas dogs just sniff the anuses and genitals of other dogs, many people LICK other people's anuses & genitals, and they could have sat at the table JUST BEFORE YOU, and you'd never know.

Posted by Max Solomon | February 28, 2007 3:57 PM

No. 8: Right, but those people aren't jumping in my lap and attempting to lick my hands and face while I'm trying to eat. Nor are they likely to shed fur and dander.

Posted by ECB | February 28, 2007 4:05 PM

"Dogs are not Babies..." really needs to be a t-shirt...

yet another reason why cat people are better than dog people...we don't drag our pets around with us (like the cats would let us)...we seldom dress them up, (like the cats would let us)...and cats don't eat poo...(they just make lots of it)...the only place you have to put up with an excess of cats in public places is in the dwindling ranks of independent book stores...

Posted by michael strangeways | February 28, 2007 4:05 PM

"My Dog Could Kick Your Baby's Ass" would be an even better shirt.

Posted by Amy Kate Horn | February 28, 2007 4:07 PM


Don't bet on that. Last week I saw a woman walking down the street with her cat draped over her shoulders. When I first moved to Capitol Hill, I saw a woman pushing her cat around in a cart. The woman claimed that her cat just couldn't stand being left at home. Based on the caterwauling emanating from the cart, I think the cat disagreed.

Posted by keshmeshi | February 28, 2007 4:12 PM

or, "My cat kicked your dog's ass..."

of course, the dog in question WAS a beagle, so it wasn't much of a kick...

beagles: cute, but dumb and kinda pussy

Posted by michael strangeways | February 28, 2007 4:12 PM

I'm with you on no dogs in restaurants, but in the interests of being factual, you should remove Lyme disease from that list of diseases you can get from your dog.

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria carried and passed on by ticks. A dog might get it from a tick bite, but it won't pass it to you. You have to be bitten by an infected tick yourself.

Posted by infectious diseases are fun | February 28, 2007 4:12 PM

Yay! Another forum for pontificating about absolutist, puritanical positions on the hot hot issues of the day!

Confidential to haters: Boo Fucking Hoo.

Posted by MeMeMe | February 28, 2007 4:15 PM

I'm with you 100% on this one, Erica, viaduct or no. Dog defenders always leave out the most important point, which is that a very large percentage of dog owners in this city are complete fucking idiots who shouldn't be allowed to own dogs, and if you allow dogs in restaurants, there's no way to discriminate between the 10% of dog owners who are not assholes and the 90% who are until it's too late and you're standing in a pile of shit.

Posted by Fnarf | February 28, 2007 4:22 PM

Aren't these kinds of paranoid safety concerns usually denigrated in this paper as the domain of SUV-driving Soccer Moms and Promise Keeper Dads living in Spielbergian Fortress Suburbia? Who are you people?

Posted by DogLover | February 28, 2007 4:24 PM

But if bars can choose to let dogs in, why can't they choose to allow smoking?
Or is that what the new compromise is about?

Posted by ??? | February 28, 2007 4:28 PM

So if I go to a restaurant in a casino & I see dogs fighting, would it be legal to bet on the fight?

Posted by Donald Trump | February 28, 2007 4:34 PM

Norm's Eatery and Metro buses already let dogs in. I think it should be up to the businesses, but I think you'll find very few of them will want to cater to dog owners. When I had a dog I never felt the desire to take it to a restaurant, let alone chain it up outside of one or outside a supermarket.

Posted by elswinger | February 28, 2007 4:40 PM

There is no irritation of ECB's too minor to legislate against.

Consider that there might be an easier solution requiring less air time, less waste, one that promotes a more independent, assertive society: Go somewhere dogs aren't welcome if you don't want to be around them. If a dog owner's behavior bothers you, open your mouth and let them know. And if you fear disease so much, watch the movie Safe and then decide:
1) Whether you're being ridiculous
2) If an immaculate cinder-block igloo in the middle of nowhere in Arizona might be appropriate for your needs.

Posted by JW | February 28, 2007 4:42 PM

But what diseases can you get from Erika Barnett?

Posted by james | February 28, 2007 4:42 PM

I don't really care one way or the other about the stupid bill, but just for the sake of completeness, do you think we could have a "handy list" of diseases that you can get from people? Even just a list of the diseases you might contract from people you meet in bars would work.

Posted by robotslave | February 28, 2007 4:43 PM

the new option of having patio seating open to dogs seems like a fine idea to me. that's how it is in every city i've lived in, and i've yet to see a person who doesn't know make their dog opey. of course, it is the south. maybe us southerners just know how to train dogs.

Posted by konstantConsumer | February 28, 2007 4:53 PM

For the record, Seattlites are generally incompetent at both driving AND dog training. ;p

Posted by golob | February 28, 2007 5:16 PM

Quite so. In fact there is a sizeable contingent of Seattle dog owners who regard having an out-of-control dog as a thing of honor.

The guy I saw today, on Eastlake whose dog was pulling him uphill, fast, on his skateboard was cool though.

The drivers are impossible too. The people who believe that a turn signal is used to signal to the world "I have just completed a turn, please admire me" make my blood boil.

Posted by Fnarf | February 28, 2007 5:21 PM

Wondering why anyone would even bother taking up this bill when we have a massive education crisis and piss-poor transportation planning? The dog lobby. It's powerful, organized and filled with lawyers.

Plus, I did some canvassing this past summer and at least 3 out of 5 households had at least one dog.

Posted by dog | February 28, 2007 5:27 PM

Problem: "...many people are allergic to dog dander or afraid of dogs; conversely, many dog owners are inattentive and some dogs are aggressive."

Your solution: mandate that every business owner be forbidden from allowing dogs on their private property.

My opinion: Your brand of liberalism is one of the few things that could make me appreciate the existence of libertarians and conservatives.

Posted by David Summerlin | February 28, 2007 5:53 PM

They can do whatever they want on their PRIVATE property, but what they do with their facilities that are open to the PUBLIC is subject to regulation. Some bar owners would like to exclude black people; how's your libertarianism now?

Posted by Fnarf | February 28, 2007 6:31 PM

That's quite an adept, nuanced argument, Fnarf.

Freedom when it fits us. Otherwise, nanny state. It's for their own good.

Posted by jimmy | February 28, 2007 6:41 PM

Fnarf, I have argued for neither the exclusion of black people nor the exclusion of dogs.

You have.

Posted by David Summerlin | February 28, 2007 7:03 PM

ECB Wrote:
"They also sniff each other’s butts; roll around in poo; and eat the rotting carcasses of other animals"

Erica, doesn't this sounds like a problem for Savage Love?

On a less than serious note, about one hundred years ago I was on a sales mission to England for the company I was working for at the time.

I took a day trip to a place called Lincolnshire in order to track down some obscure car parts for a vehicle I was rebuilding. Heck, I was in England,
and I was going to enjoy it on the company dime..or pound.

After a long day of haggling, I stopped by a local pub for something to eat and a beer or three. There was this guy, about my age who had his dog seated next to him, and I, being the joking American, asked the gentleman if it was his girlfriend. The place got rather quiet and the bastard jumped up and smacked me in the eye and nose before I could recover and give him a 52 yard boot to his balls. The dog refrained from getting involved in the fracas, however the police soon came asked we were okay and offered to take us both to jail. The dog was not questioned.

We declined the offer made by the police, and after buying each other about twenty or so pints, we became good friends. We still get a Christmas card from him and his wife, although I am sorry to report, the dog passed on a while back.

I had a meeting the next day in London with some important clients who where mightly impressed with by the size of my black eye and my very swollen nose. I told them the story of meeting in the pub in Lincolnshire and they all laughed and thought it "rich". They did make a sizable purchase from me which made my boss extremely happy and more wealthy than he already was at the time.

I got some nice car parts out of the deal, however if there is a morale to this story, please let me know what it
is. Frankly, I haven't a clue.


Posted by Jensen Interceptor | February 28, 2007 8:00 PM

Yeah yeah, dogs are filthy because they lick their own rectums, unlike people who only lick others rectums. ECB, I guarantee my Dachshund is more disease free than most Stranger readers.

Posted by help me rhombus | February 28, 2007 8:41 PM

ahh...story time. That I like.

About 50 years ago I worked at the Allegro. At that time a sizeable portion of the customers were from the middle east and north Africa. We also had some serious dog lovers.

One day it dawned on several employees that over the preceding week or so virtually all of the middle eastern/African customers were getting their coffee in to go cups.

When asked what was going on we discovered that one of the serious dog lovers had been seen letting darling fido lap coffee out of her mug.

For many folks dogs are about as unclean as it gets. And since the offending mug had not been immediately destroyed, no one could be sure which was the unclean cup, and therefore all were to be avoided in favor of the (presumably) unsoiled paper cups.

Posted by gnossos | February 28, 2007 8:45 PM

Dogs' mouths aren't cleaner than humans', but their saliva has a stronger antibacterial property than humans'. That being said, I've met many dogs that are better around food than plenty of humans.

Posted by Gitai | February 28, 2007 10:04 PM

Leaving aside FNARF's bullshit comparison of dogs to blacks, here dogs in restaurants should perhaps be compared to cigarettes in restaurants. The base argument for restricting cigarettes in privately owned restaurants was that it discriminated against the employees. That is to say, it was reasonable issue for public control of private space because it made it so one did not have to accept documented self-harm in order to make a living. That is not the case here. If you don't like dogs, don't go in. Nanny Barnett, can you cite a study showing significant human health harm from being around dogs? Yeah, yeah, I guess emplyees could have allergies.

On the other hand, I'm with you on dogs in parks, and especially play fields. All the people throwing balls for dogs on play fields should be punished severely for ignoring the leash and play field rules. I will NEVER forget how rude dog owners were to me and my son when he was 7 and younger when I explained that my son was so afraid of dogs that he would not go on a play field with an unleashed dog. Far too many dog owners ridiculed us in their royal narcissistic way for me to trust the good intentions of any dog owner.

On last thought, fuck em.' No restaurants for you!

Posted by mirror | February 28, 2007 10:23 PM

YAY dogs in bars.

BOO fearful shrieking from bored Stranger scribe.

Posted by the todd | February 28, 2007 10:41 PM

What about dogs on buses? Seattle is unusual in that leashed dogs are allowed on Metro buses. Owners are simply required to pay the normal bus fare for the dog if it's too large to sit on its owner's lap.

I am imagining an upcoming slog post from ECB, in which she complains about being late to work due to having to share her bus commute with a dog, solicits support from other slogsters to ban dogs from Metro (at least on her route), and finally, threatens to buy a car and drive everywhere if Metro and Seattle dog owners don't make her bus ride more enjoyable....

Posted by genevieve | February 28, 2007 11:44 PM

How is this even an issue? Dogs aren't people. That should be the end of discussion.

Posted by PDXRitchie | March 1, 2007 12:04 AM

You guys really are complaining about not having the best seats on the Hindenberg aren't you.

The shit is hitting the fan in new ways every day. Motherfuckers can't suck a dick for a bowl of rice while we're gearing up to elect which corporation is gonna war profiteer the hell out of the next 8 years of American History and you're all worried about the line for Space Mountain being too long in the Summertime.


Posted by Careful, He Bites | March 1, 2007 8:07 AM

You guys really are complaining about not having the best seats on the Hindenberg aren't you.

The shit is hitting the fan in new ways every day. Motherfuckers can't suck a dick for a bowl of rice while we're gearing up to elect which corporation is gonna war profiteer the hell out of the next 8 years of American History and you're all worried about the line for Space Mountain being too long in the Summertime.


Posted by Careful, He Bites | March 1, 2007 8:07 AM

You people are assholes. I did not argue for the "exclusion of blacks", and you know it. I was just responding to the tired old "it's private property, I can do whatever I want" argument about a PUBLIC accomodation. Serious people don't think like that; serious people recognize that the question of public accomodation was settled, permanently, a long, long time ago. The only people who don't are in bed with fuckwits and segregationists like Gary Bauer and David Duke.

So where do you stand on that, Summerlin? Think we should bring back segregation? What a maroon.

Your dog is not a human being. If you're like most Seattle dog owners, frankly, your own status is somewhat in doubt.

Posted by Fnarf | March 1, 2007 8:22 AM

I figured you weren't talking about "exclusion" of blacks," but you equated them with dogs as in the same category.

There are the humans, who are protected by the 14th Amendment. Then there are the dogs and smoking, which are covered by the rights and restrictions of the government's ability to make laws for health and safety.

Very different categories of law and legal conception.

Let's just say you were possessed by a manifestation of the demon that sometimes possesses people to be an instrument of Goodwin's Law : that as a thread becomes longer the odds of someone bringing up Hitler approaches one. With the rabid intensity of dog's rights people [I mean innocent loving pet owners] driving emotional level, I had been expecting a mention of Nazi Germany by one side or another.

Posted by mirror | March 1, 2007 9:28 AM

Fnarf, I never accused you of arguing for the exclusion of black people.

Fnarf, I never suggested private property owners be allowed to do whatever they want in a public venue.

Fnarf, I never suggested my dog is a human being.

Your reading comprehension skills are not my problem. Judging from your bizarre recharacterization of my simply stated opinion (that ECB's extreme, prudish liberalism must be tempered by other people with whom I also disagree), I gather you think I sympathize with Libertarian politics. This is also something I never stated, and in fact I pretty clearly stated the oppoosite.

Someone is guilty of moronic assholism, I'm sure. Hint: it's you.

Regarding public accommodation, let's take cats. I love them. They can also put me in the hospital I'm so horribly allergic to them.

There is scarcely an independent bookstore in Seattle in which I can set foot.

Will you see me appealing to the government to outlaw cats in all bookstores? No, you will not. Why? Because I am a better human being than you are.

Perhaps you could retort that food service establishments are in a different category. Indeed they are. We have health code regulations to tend to those needs.

You are arguing for a rigid conformity in how certain establishments are allowed to operate. I think that's silly and totally unneccessary.

So tell me again how I'm worse than Hitler for thinking that "dogs in bars" is an entirely different question than "smoking in bars" or "blacks in bars."

Then again, don't bother, fuckwit.

Posted by David Summerlin | March 1, 2007 9:55 AM


I'm really really worried about the line for Space Mountain being too long in the Summertime.

Posted by mirror | March 1, 2007 10:25 AM

-- no dogs (or human babies) in restaurants, theaters or coffee shops. there, i said it.

Posted by Aaro)))n Edge | March 1, 2007 10:34 AM

If the bill passes, most bars and restaurants will continue to ban dogs, and you can patronize them.

Posted by Ken | March 1, 2007 12:26 PM

"the top of a long, slippery slope that could end up screwing over those of us who don’t want your dog jumping in our laps while we try to enjoy a burger at Linda’s."

Why does ECB assume that Linda's is going to jump at the opportunity to piss off its dog-hating customers by allowing dogs in? If this passes, I strongly suspect you will see most bars still forbidding dogs (would they want to risk the liability if your Great Dane bites someone?), with a small percentage catering to that clientele who likes to drink with their well-behaved black lab.

I don't think dogs need to be in bars, but I don't see this law turning all your favorite watering holes into the local Humane Society chapter.

Posted by tsm | March 1, 2007 12:39 PM

Better watch out, tsm: that kind of calm reasoning will get you branded a screaming radical for doggie rights in these puritanical waters. Don't you realize that your militant dog advocacy is the cause of all the hysteria?

Posted by David Summerlin | March 1, 2007 12:49 PM

I have worked in my fair share of restaurant kitchens. You probably are not aware of the extent to which strangers' hands have dredged themselves severally through the food you're ingesting.

Can you burp and say 'Give me your paw' at the same time?

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | March 1, 2007 3:42 PM

I love (sometimes, depending on the dog) dogs in bars, but this bill is a waste of time and resources. If this idiot is going for the "dog lover" vote - which I'm guessing is the case - this is the worst type of pandering imaginable. This is such a non-issue.

Besides, if insurance premiums for small businesses are anything like homeowners liabiity insurance, you might start seeing bar/restaurant operaters not allowing certain breeds on their premises... won't that be a fun argument!

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