RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) -- The Washoe County Health District is getting strict about dogs being on the patios of restaurants and bars -- many that are typically known for being dog-friendly.
According to Phil Ulibarri with the Washoe County Health District, a law that prohibits dogs in restaurants and bars, including the patio, has been on the books for years.
Ulibarri says the health district has received numerous complaints about dogs being at local businesses, which is part of the reason they are increasing enforcement.
But Ulibarri says businesses can get permission from the health department to allow dogs on their patios by applying for a $288 waiver.
"They apply for an Operational Plan to tell us where those animals are going to be and they show us their staff is equipped to handle issues that arise with pets in bars and restaurants," said Ulibarri.
He said those issues include dogs defecating on the floor, employees handling pets, pets eating off customer plates and behaving disruptively.
Ole Bridge Pub and Sierra Tap House are two Reno bars applying for the waiver. Outside Sierra Tap House, a sign that reads "No Dogs Allowed" is getting a lot of attention from customers who have always known the bars to be dog-friendly.
"People have been walking by and seeing the signs posted and are getting kind of upset," said Cassie Pete, who manages both bars.
She says the Washoe County Health District told her two weeks ago that they can no longer allow dogs on either of their patios.
"At Ole Bridge, we've been here for seven years. At [Sierra] Tap House, we've been there for 11 years. We've had dogs on the patio all that time and have never had any issues," said Pete.
Pete says they hope to have the Operational Plan completed and approved within the next two weeks, so they can once-again welcome dogs on the patio.
"Bare with us. Please bare with us while we are trying to figure this out. It's not a personal choice. We want you guys to be able to bring all members of your family - furry or not," said Pete.