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Wi t h a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f t h e F l o r i d a Department of Health in Sarasota County having assured them, "We have no record or knowledge of any complaints," the Sarasota County commissioners this week agreed unanimously to make the "doggie dining" ordinance it originally adopted in 2007 a per- manent part of the county code. No persons appeared to address the board during the public hearing held prior to the vote. The staff recommendation in a June 10 memo to the commission called for provid- ing the "permanent local exemption to allow dogs in designated outdoor portions of public food service establishments." Quintin Clark, who works at the Health Department's Ringling Boulevard office in Sarasota, told the commissioners that as of April, 21 facilities have licenses allow- ing pets to join owners during outdoor dining experiences. At one time, Clark said, as many as 28 estab- lishments were licensed under the ordinance. The June 10 memo explains that the com- mission first adopted the "doggie dining" ordinance on May 8, 2007, and set a fee schedule to cover the costs of processing applications for permits, inspections, renew- als and enforcement. On June 30, 2009, the memo adds, the board extended the sunset date of the ordinance to July 1, 2014. Clark pointed out that Health Department staff held a meeting on March 14 at the Fruitville Library to seek comments on renewing the ordinance without a sunset date. While notifications were sent to all the county's 'DOGGIE DINING' MADE A PERMANENT PART OF COUNTY CODE NEWS BRIEFS lists county restaurants where 'doggie dining' is permitted. Image from the website

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