ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – For more than a month, the Abilene City Council has been considering a change to current ordinances that would allow dogs to join their owners at certain restaurants. In Thursday’s meeting, they officially moved ahead with the decision.
That doesn’t mean dogs will be at every restaurant in town. They’re only allowed to eat at establishments with an outdoor patio area, and it’s up to each restaurant to decide whether they want to allow dogs at all.
According to city staff, around two dozen restaurants qualify for these new dining partners. Council and citizens were both generally in favor of the change, but there were some disagreements. Council member Donna Albus was the sole opposing vote, citing constituent complaints.
From the public side of things, Bob Thomas spoke up in opposition of the change, saying the City could be opening itself up to lawsuits. “This could potentially open up restaurant owners to damage lawsuits, but also the City, for granting such privileges.”
Council member Steve Savage responded, “What we’re talking about here are private-owned restaurants, where that’s really on them. I just don’t see how the City would be liable for allowing that.”
A number of cities across Texas have already made the move to allow dogs at restaurants. By default, it is against Texas health code, but a provision exists for cities to make changes as they see fit.
Also during this meeting, Council voted to name the new road near the airport and TSTC campus. The previously unnamed one-way road is now called Lindbergh Drive. The road leads from highway 36 to Navajo Trail, and it is open for drivers.
The City also set dates for public hearings as a new tax rate is determined. Due to increased property values, the money you pay will be a bit higher than before, but the City tax rate is expected to drop slightly. The public hearing is scheduled for September 6, and the final vote is planned for September 13.