D.C. Law 22-91. Dining with Dogs Act of 2018.


To allow food establishments to permit dogs in outdoor dining areas and unenclosed sidewalk cafés.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as the "Dining with Dogs Act of 2018".

Sec. 2. Definitions.

For the purposes of this act, the term:

(1) "Carrier" means a crate designed for carrying dogs or a front-pack or backpack designed to safely carry a dog.

(2) "Food establishment" means any business that offers outdoor seating and sells food for consumption on its premises.

(3) "Leash" means a line held by a person on one end that is for leading or restraining a dog.

(4) "Outdoor dining area" means an outdoor area on private property where food is served by a food establishment.

(5) "Unenclosed sidewalk café" means any authorized use of public space adjacent to a food establishment that contains tables, chairs, railings, or planters, which is open to the sky and at the sides, but may include awnings or umbrellas, and which is able to be removed within a 24-hour period.

(6) "Waste bag" means a plastic bag designed for disposing of dog excrement.

Sec. 3. Outdoor dining with dogs.

(a)(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of District law or regulation to the contrary, a food establishment may permit dogs in outdoor dining areas or designated portions thereof, or in unenclosed sidewalk cafés.

(2) A food establishment that permits dogs in outdoor dining areas or unenclosed sidewalk cafés may restrict types of dogs based on a dog's size or temperament.

(b) A food establishment that permits dogs in outdoor dining areas or unenclosed sidewalk cafés shall:

(1) Post signage outside the food establishment clearly stating that dogs are permitted in outdoor dining areas of the food establishment or in an unenclosed sidewalk café adjacent to the food establishment, along with any restrictions on dogs based on size or temperament;

(2) Provide an entrance that does not require dogs to enter an indoor dining area or an area in which food is being stored or prepared to access the outdoor dining area or the unenclosed sidewalk café;

(3) Provide patrons with waste bags and a sanitary means of disposing of waste bags;

(4) Meet the requirements of section 503.1 of Title 25A of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (25A DCMR § 503.1), by ensuring that food employees do not care for or handle dogs;

(5) Require a patron to keep the patron's dog in a carrier or on a leash at all times; and

(6) Prohibit a patron from leaving the patron's dog unattended.

(c) A food establishment may require a patron to take the patron's dog off the food establishment's premises or away from the food establishment's unenclosed sidewalk café.

(d) Nothing in this act, shall be construed to prevent live animals, as described in section 3214.2(b) and (c) of Title 25A of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (25A DCMR § 3214.2(b) and (c))), from accessing a food establishment.

Sec. 4. Fiscal impact statement.

The Council adopts the fiscal impact statement in the committee report as the fiscal impact statement required by section 4a of the General Legislative Procedures Act of 1975, approved October 16, 2006 (120 Stat. 2038; D.C. Official Code § 1-301.47a).

Sec. 5. Effective date.

The act shall take effect following approval by the Mayor (or in the event of veto by the Mayor, action by the Council to override the veto), a 30-day period of congressional review as provided in section 602(c)(1) of the District of Columbia Home Rule Act, approved December 24, 1973 (87 Stat. 813; D.C. Official Code § 1-206.02(c)(1)), and publication in the District of Columbia Register.

Law Information


  • D.C. Law 22-91 (PDF)
  • D.C. Act 22-275 (PDF)
  • 65 DCR 2639


May 5, 2018

Legislative History (LIMS)

Law 22-91, the “Dining with Dogs Act of 2018,” was introduced in the Council and assigned Bill No. 22-510 which was referred to the Committee on Health. The bill was adopted on first and second readings on Jan. 9, 2018, and Feb. 6, 2018, respectively. After mayoral review, it was assigned Act No. 22-275 on Mar. 8, 2018, and transmitted to Congress for its review. D.C. Law 22-91 became effective May 5, 2018.