We (the dog families and friends who live in, work in, and visit Boston) say: let’s revise the current outdated policy and let local business owners choose whether or not to allow dogs on their outdoor patios!
Surrounding communities like Cambridge, Somerville, Newton, Everett, Malden, Waltham, etc. have already revised their policies to allow dogs on patios, so there's no reason the City of Boston shouldn't be able to make the same appropriate changes- especially at non-food establishments like breweries and beer gardens.
There are 10,000+ licensed dogs in Boston as of 2020- and countless more who work, play, and visit in Boston. Adoptions increased exponentially during the pandemic, so dog families are here to stay- and are a significant consumer group, tourism sector, and tax-paying community.
WHY DO WE WANT THIS CHANGE?
- Research shows that healthy, vaccinated dogs on outdoor patios pose an extremely low to no risk to human health or sanitary concerns! (see https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24437046/)
- Permitting dog-friendly patios will increase traffic into local businesses in Boston, an industry which has been crippled by the Covid pandemic. As it stands, dog families are spending their time and money in communities other than Boston, because they have to- and Boston businesses are suffering because of it.
- Local animal shelters/rescues in the Boston area can utilize food/drink venues to host events for adoptions and fundraising to save homeless dogs. Prohibiting these events has a negative impact on all of the work those organizations do to save homeless animals.
- Boston deserves better equity and choice: businesses in other communities get to make the decision themselves whether to allow dogs on their patios or not, but Boston businesses do not. But many would (and have in the past!) welcome dogs with open arms, because the feedback they've gotten is clear: patrons are less likely to visit Boston's patios if they cannot bring their dogs.
- Many city business patios nowadays are little more than a roped-off area of a public park, street, or sidewalk. Dogs are allowed on the public side of the rope, but not on the business side- which seems neither logical nor fair.
WHAT'S GOING ON, BOSTON?
With these restrictive policies and lack of public amenities for dogs (only 3 dog parks within city limits?!), the city is sending a clear message to current and future dog families that we are not welcome here. In an era of "All Inclusive Boston", this puts the city far behind where its leaders and community members claim to want to be.
This change is simple to make, does not require any budgetary concerns, can model itself after the best practices and policies of Boston's neighboring communities, and will have positive effects on the city's reputation, families, and economy. In other words, it's an easy fix with a ton of benefits- so let's get it done!
HELP GIVE BUSINESS OWNERS THE CHOICE: STOP THE BAN OF DOGS ON OUTDOOR PATIOS!