A local brewery received a governmental finger-wag from the Florida Department of Health this week for allowing dogs in their tasting room and they’re taking the fight to the internet.

RockPit Brewing (Website) posted a letter on its website following an altercation with some guests who were less than happy to see dogs while they were day drinking in the SoDo District watering hole. You can click HERE to read the whole account.

They proceeded to tell Sean that having dogs at an establishment was illegal. Further, they said they were locals, and they would never return because we allowed dogs at the brewery.

They also said they’d be reporting us to the health department. 

Sean simply replied, “Thank you for coming in. Have a good evening.” – rockpit brewing blog excerpt

And the guests did what they promised and called the Health Department which promptly responded to the complaint and sent representatives to Rockpit to inform them that dogs were not allowed to be anywhere on a property that serves food.

The Department of Health defines alcoholic beverages as “food” as it’s intended for consumption by humans, so bars and breweries are categorized as food service establishments. Violations of food standards, including having a dog on-premises, could result in the revocation of a food service license. That being said, DOH employees rarely seek to enforce the law but as there was a formal complaint made in this case, they were obliged to follow up.

A petition on Change.org was launched in response to the RockPit visit, asking for signatures to contact their legislators to change the law and allow dogs in breweries saying, “Dogs have been a part of breweries since the time of the Ancient Egyptians and so far no one has suffered any kind of ailment as a result.”

Luckily for RockPit, the State of Florida enacted a law in 2006 that allows local governments to adopt ordinances that can exempt businesses in their boundaries from the state’s Food and Drug Administration Food Code, and Orlando is one of those cities with such an ordinance.

You can apply for a Dog-Friendly Dining Permit with the City of Orlando by clicking HERE. The process involves assembling a diagram and description of a designated outdoor area for your doggy patrons that includes entryways, exits, fences, and barriers, the hours you’d permit dogs in that space, proof of insurance, and a business tax receipt number for your business. There’s a $275 user fee associated with the application.

If you’re approved for a permit, you’ll have to post signs that notify customers that the area is a dog-friendly service area and relay the list of sanitary rules that customers and service personnel are required to follow. Click HERE to see all of the rules.

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of Bungalower.com

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