D.C. Law 22-38. Dining with Dogs Temporary Act of 2017.


To allow, on a temporary basis, 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 Temporary Act of 2017".

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 District law or regulation to the contrary, a food establishment may elect to permit dogs in outdoor dining areas or designated portions thereof, or in unenclosed sidewalk cafés.

(2) A food establishment permitting dogs 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 dogs are permitted in outdoor dining areas of the food establishment or unenclosed sidewalk café adjacent to the food establishment, along with any restrictions on dogs based on size or temperament;

(2) Provide a separate entrance to any outdoor seating areas or unenclosed sidewalk cafés that does not open into an indoor seating area;

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

(4) Meet the requirements of 25A DCMR § 503.1, ensuring that food employees do not care for or handle dogs;

(5) Require a patron to keep his or her dog in a carrier or on a leash at all times; and

(6) Prohibit a patron from leaving his or her dog unattended.

(c) A food establishment may require patrons to take the 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 25A DMCR § 3214.2(b) and (c), from having access to food establishments.

Sec. 4. Fiscal impact statement.

The Council adopts the fiscal impact statement of the Budget Director 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.

(a) This 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.

(b) This act shall expire after 225 days of its having taken effect.

Law Information


  • D.C. Law 22-38 (PDF)
  • D.C. Act 22-184 (PDF)
  • 64 DCR 12300


Jan. 17, 2018

Legislative History

Law 22-38, the “Dining with Dogs Temporary Act of 2017,” was introduced in the Council and assigned Bill No. 22-471 which was retained by the Council. The bill was adopted on first and second readings on Oct. 3, 2017, and Nov. 7, 2017, respectively. After mayoral review, it was assigned Act No. 22-184 on Nov. 22, 2017, and transmitted to Congress for its review. D.C. Law 22-38 became effective Jan. 17, 2018.