wp header logo 706

Tampa dog bar chain deals with state health code legal battle – WTSP.com

Next up in 5
Example video title will go here for this video
Next up in 5
Example video title will go here for this video

TAMPA, Fla. — Tuesday morning, a panel of judges in Tallahassee heard arguments about allowing animals in bars. 
At the center of the case is “Pups Pub,” a popular dog bar with locations in Orlando and Tampa. Pups Pub, like other popular “dog bars” around Tampa Bay, is popular among dog owners who can enjoy a beverage in an environment created for their dog’s entertainment. But the bar is now facing a second legal challenge. 
It received a cease and desist letter from the Orange County Health Department saying it violated Florida’s food hygiene code by allowing dogs inside its business. 
For years, the owners operated under the impression that this was allowed because they weren’t doing food service, but the health department now argues that beverages and ice constitute food. 
Last summer, a judge ruled in favor of Pups Pub, but now, the state is appealing the decision.
“This rule is unambiguous. It specifically provides that bars and animals can’t be inside bars and lounges,” Sarah Young Hodges, the lawyer representing the Department of Health, said. “The department did not change its interpretation of this rule, it corrected the application of this rule.”
However, the lawyer representing Pups Pub argued the Department of Health did change its interpretation of the rule. 
“It was a change in interpretation from 2018 to now,” lawyer Tana Storey said. She also argued the rules are unclear. 
“If the rule were clear, we wouldn’t be here today. What we’re saying is the department needs to not establish this unadopted rule and reestablish whatever rule it thinks is clear, but the one on the books is not it.” 
Meanwhile, those behind the popular “Dog Bar St. Pete” said they’re operating under a different kind of permit and haven’t experienced any issues with code violations. They said they support Pups Pub. 
“Dog bars are really important to the dog community,” Dog Bar General Manager Stephanie Marble said. “We are a small community and what’s happening to Pups Pub and what’s happening in Tampa affects us across the state.” 
Marble said she wants to see the state work with businesses like theirs to create clear, uniform regulations. 
“Bring a safe, healthy space, whether it’s for humans or dogs, you know. That is across the state what all of the dog bars are trying to do and work with the health department,” Marble said.
Notifications can be turned off anytime in the browser settings.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top