When Mal Clingan and his wife go out, they like to bring the third member of the family along.
"He's 45 pounds of hair and 10 pounds of dog," said Clingan.
If you see the Clingans, odds are their dog, K.C., a 13-year-old bearded collie, isn't far behind.
But there was always one trip K.C. couldn't make: Dinner.
That all changed Tuesday when the Pinellas County Commission passed the "dog friendly dining program."
"We're absolutely thrilled about it, we're just hoping that the permit process doesn't take quite as long," said Karen Donnelly of Fairway Pizza and Sports Page Pub in Palm Harbor.
Donnelly and the folks at Fairway were the driving force behind the county-wide change.
"We've had a lot of customers come in that are very pet friendly, and they've been asking quite a while if they can bring their pets to the deck," said Donnelly.
The new ordinance does not force all county restaurants to comply but allows those who are interested to apply for a permit that will cost them $215.
Dogs will only be allowed in outdoor areas, will have to stay on a leash, will not be allowed up on chairs or tables and bottles of hand sanitizer must be available at each table in the dog friendly area.
Donnelly says the new rules will probably translate into a spike in business.
"I think it will help us tremendously. We have a lot of people who do like to bring their pets," said Donnelly.
That's already the case with the Clingans who say now that K.C. is allowed, they'll eat at Fairway more often.
"We enjoy being with our pet. He's our family member," Clingan said. "He's our kid."
The ordinance also says any wait staff who pets a dog must wash their hands after, and if your dog has an accident, it must be cleaned up immediately and the area must be sanitized.
The ordinance will go into effect April 29.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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