Pets prohibited from restaurants under Hawaii's health regulations


POSTED: Thursday, February 26, 2009

Question: When we take our pet to the mainland, there are so many pet-friendly outdoor cafes. Hawaii has so many outdoor eateries. Why are pets prohibited?

Answer: Not all pets are prohibited. Service animals are allowed everywhere their owners go. For the rest of us, being able to enjoy a meal in a cafe with dog in tow would be a dog's day in heaven - not to mention an owner's. Most who consider their dogs as companions want such access.

Many cities across the nation have adopted such pet-friendly policies.

Hawaii Administrative Rules state that pets are not allowed within restaurants. The Hawaii State Department of Health interprets “;within an establishment”; to include outdoor patios. To change the rule would require the Legislature to allow cities and counties to issue ordinances or permits giving restaurant owners the authority to allow pets.

Q: How can the state tell business owners what to do?

A: Some restaurants with spacious outdoor dining areas have expressed interest in welcoming responsible pet owners and their dogs. They argue that as business owners it should be their decision, not the government's.

After all, luxury hotels such as the Kahala Hotel & Resort welcome small pets. Churches welcome pets for blessing events. Airlines allow pets in the cabin. And many hospitals and nursing homes allow the Humane Society's people-and-pet teams to visit their patients.

Dog owners, advocates and restaurant owners can express their concerns to state leadership, and they can get involved with the Hawaiian Humane Society's advocacy team by calling 356-2247.


The Hawaiian Humane Society welcomes questions by e-mail, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Indicate “;Pet Ohana”; in the subject line. Or, write “;Pet Ohana,”; Hawaiian Humane Society, 2700 Waialae Ave., Honolulu 96826.