SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The restaurant industry, even the insurance industry, has identified a growing trend in people dining with their dogs.
In general, in South Dakota, dining with dogs is allowed both inside and outside unless the local city, county or the business itself bans it.
As long as dogs aren’t in the food preparation area or kitchen, the dogs can be inside a restaurant or in an outdoor patio area, said Dominic Miller, the environmental health manager for the city of Sioux Falls.
The restaurant should “not allow dogs on tables or chairs. They should be keeping track if an animal sheds a lot of hair…they need to be more vigilant about cleaning whatever the animal may leave behind,” Miller said.
Josiah’s in downtown Sioux Falls has had a longstanding policy of allowing leashed dogs in its indoor and outdoor seating areas, said owner Kibbi McCormick.
An increasing number of states are addressing dogs and eating areas, according to research from Pew and Michigan State University.
Most of the laws on dogs or pets in dining establishments in states do not allow dogs in the indoor seating area of restaurants, according to the Michigan State University Animal Legal and Historical Society.
“Ninety-nine percent of the people are excited and happy about it,” McCormick said of Josiah’s policy.
McNally’s Irish Pub in the southern part of Sioux Falls, allows dogs in the outdoor seating area, said owner Nicki Ellerbroek.
“A lot of regulars bring their dogs,” Ellerbroek said.
Ellerbroek said dogs can usually be found on the patio on weeknights and Sunday nights.
Dogs can be found at Josiah’s from breakfast through the 3 p.m. closing time, McCormick said.
The two owners said the dogs are generally well-behaved.
“We haven’t had any situation where dogs were not getting along (with other dogs),” Ellerbroek said
“If a dog got really crazy or barking, most owners take them out (before being asked),” McCormick said. And that situation is rare, she said.
The Michigan State University Animal Legal and Historical Center said as of 2020, 17 states had laws or regulations or both on animals in outdoor and indoor seating in restaurants. According to the state of Iowa, rules changed in 2021 so that businesses do not need a waiver to allow pet dogs in outdoor eating areas.
The Michigan State center said, “Local units of government like cities and counties can enact ordinances/laws that deal with dogs in outdoor restaurants.”
Also, the center and several city officials said the rules are different for service or therapy dogs which are allowed inside a restaurant.
Many hunters come with dogs during the fall in the Aberdeen area but it doesn’t seem like they bring them into restaurants, city attorney Ron Wager said.
The city does not have an ordinance or code that prohibits dogs in outdoor or indoor areas of restaurants, Wager said. The city would follow general state guidelines such as Sioux Falls does.
“Our health officer, to my knowledge, has never made a complaint against a restaurant because animals were in the restaurant,” Wager said.
The city of Vermillion also follows state guidelines, said city building official Calin Bird.
Bird said the city doesn’t really get questions about pets in restaurants. He does know that some Vermillion businesses do allow pets in the store.
Denise Trowbridge of El Paso, Texas, is a full-time traveler right now with her husband and two dogs.
“We eat on a lot of patios and breweries,” Trowbridge said of dining with the two dogs.
Trowbridge was in Sioux Falls visiting a relative and walking with her dogs, Shiner Bock and Liberty Belle, at a local park.
She’s seen an increase in available places to dine with the dogs.
“In larger towns, yes. I would consider Sioux Falls a larger town,” Trowbridge said.
Breweries tended to accommodate dogs earlier than restaurants.
“If a town is big enough to have its own brewery, that’s the first option I started with,” Trowbridge said of choosing a place to eat with dogs.
Travel review websites will list restaurants and breweries that allow dogs inside or outside.
McCormick said Josiah’s includes a mention that the business is dog friendly on its website. Other social media and word of mouth share the information with others, she said.
“I noticed last summer and the summer before as a lot of people were traveling in South Dakota, I noticed a lot of out-of-towners found McNally’s (on website and social media),” Ellerbroek said. Travelers noticed the dog friendly posts and stopped, she said.
Aaryn Aalvik of Sioux Falls has an almost six-month old golden retriever named Marnie.
Indoor and outdoor dining options with pets have increased in Sioux Falls, Aalvik said. For now, her dog is too young for either, Aalvik said.
“It would be nice, I’d like to do it,” Aalvik said. “Outside for sure.”
Marnie may be ready to sit outside before she’s ready for indoor seating. But indoor seating would be a goal because “there’s not very many pleasant (outdoor days) in Sioux Falls,” Aalvik said.
Often the dogs that visit local restaurants are considered part of a customer’s family, McCormick and Ellerbroek said.
Some customers bring their own dog treats or will even order off the kids menu, Ellerbroek said.
Josiah’s has a dog that comes nearly everyday for breakfast with his owner, McCormick said.
He is greeted by the staff and when he is not, he waits for the greeting, she said.
Restaurants will also have dog treats and water available for dogs.
Ellerbroek said their water dishes are cleaned after each use to prevent the spread of any illness between dogs.