NewsDenver7 360 | In-Depth reports


Should dogs be allowed on patios and in other public places?

Colorado's love-affair with dogs stirs debate
Posted at 7:00 PM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 23:00:17-04

Editor's Note: Denver7 360 stories explore multiple sides of the topics that matter most to Coloradans, bringing in different perspectives so you can make up your own mind about the issues. To comment on this or other 360 stories, email us at See more 360 stories here

DENVER — Arvada police have located the dog that bit a woman in the face at a popular restaurant, and police tell us they've also identified the dog owner. No word on any charges.

But, the case got us thinking - in a state that frequently ranks at the top of "dog friendliest places,” should our furry friends really be allowed on patios and in other public spaces?

We’re going 360 to show you where Colorado communities draw the line.

It's been said, every dog has its day, but in Denver it’s more like every day is for the dogs.

Nearly 70 percent of households in Colorado have a dog. Most of you consider them family.

Just look at the model Justin Henry built with The Watering Bowl restaurant and bar in Denver.

"We were the first,” Henry said. “To allow you to consume food and drink with your dog off-leash."

The place certainly has its fans.

"We could go to many other dog parks, but we couldn't have a drink,” said Jessica Lawson who drives 35 minutes each way because she is so fond of The Watering Bowl. “We couldn't have any food."

"I come to unwind, have burger and my dog gets to run while I play fetch with her," said Jeff Ramos.

That brings up the central question in this story: should dogs be allowed on restaurant patios and in other public places where not all feel comfortable around them?

"You just don't know every dog for sure," said Jim Nigg, owner of Rockabillies Bar & Grill in Arvada.

Dramatic video shows a dog biting a woman in the face on the patio of Rockabillies. The woman is recovering with five stitches above the eye.

But after the incident, Nigg is taking no chances. Due to safety and liability issues - he's now posted a ‘No Dogs on the Patio’ policy.    

"We had so much fun with them for years and years and years,” Nigg said. “It was great for people to bring their dog. But, after something like this - I just can't see how you can do it again."

We checked and Denver's city code does allow dogs on patios as long as access to the patio doesn't require walking through the restaurant.

Arvada and many other metro area cities have similar policies.

"We are the outlet for all the apartment dwellers," Henry said.

In the end, each business owner can choose whether to allow your furry friends or not. And you have a choice, too.

"Everyone has a reason why they do it and I can understand that," said Delaney Damon.

"There's no reason to come in and be afraid for the safety of yourself or your dog," said Ramos. “The staff here is trained to know how to handle dogs that are a little too wild and pose a risk.”

"I don't want to leave my dog at home after I've worked 60 hours a week," Lawson said. “It’s a quality of life issue for me and everyone else who loves their dogs.”