Should dogs be allowed in pubs? This Nova Scotian brewer thinks do

Ian Lawson, co-owner of Brightwood Brewery: ‘We believe dogs are family members’

People stand with their dogs in front of Brightwood Market in Dartmouth, N.S. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Ian Lawson)

People stand with their dogs in front of Brightwood Market in Dartmouth, N.S. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Ian Lawson)

A Halifax craft brewer has launched a petition to bring pooches into his pub, saying the province’s regulations are too unfriendly to dogs.

Ian Lawson, co-owner of Brightwood Brewery, says an anonymous complaint led a provincial inspector to order an end to his practice of allowing patrons to bring dogs into his establishment.

The 34-year-old entrepreneur said in an interview that dogs are valued companions who should be welcome in the taproom, provided they are friendly and under control.

“We believe dogs are family members,” he said in an interview on Monday. “It’s part of the craft brewing culture to be able to sit down and have a pint with your dog.”

Lawson adds he accepts regulations requiring that animals be kept away from food preparation areas for health and safety reasons.

However, his petition is calling on the province’s Environment Department to rewrite regulations that ban animals — other than service animals and aquarium fish — from the entire restaurant premises.

In the case of his pub, food preparation is limited to reheating meat pies and samosas — and the dogs were required to stay out of the area where the dishes were prepared.

Nova Scotia regulations clearly state, ”An operator must not permit any live animal to be in a food establishment,” with the exception of ”a guide animal, if permitting the guide animal to enter does not pose a risk of contaminating the food.”

The craft brewer said he’d like to see the rules changed to give inspectors latitude to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the presence of dogs poses any risk to food safety.

He cites legislation in B.C., which allows exemptions for “any other animal that a health officer determines will not pose a risk of a health hazard occurring on the premises.”

Meribeth Burton, a spokeswoman for the Health Department in B.C., wrote in an email: ”Our legislation does allow for animals in food establishments. However, it is not commonplace in British Columbia.” She said it is ultimately up to health authorities and their inspection teams to make a judgment call.

READ MORE: Boy’s service dog bounced from B.C. trampoline park

A spokesperson for the Nova Scotia Envirnoment Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lawson said dogs had caused no problems since he opened in October 2018, other than a single incident of a dog that was barking and snarling. The owner was asked to leave after he refused to put the dog on a leash.

Since the inspector’s visit two weeks ago, the brew pub has been turning dogs away, fearing the loss of its wider operating licence if it doesn’t comply.

Lawson estimated about 30 people and their dogs have been told they can’t come in since the inspector’s visit, adding that he misses seeing them.

“It brought everyone joy being able to see a happy dog, and give the dog a pat on the head,” he said. “The good possibilities outweigh the bad.”

His petition on change.org had attracted more than 2,000 signatures Monday afternoon.

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province still hopes to bring the hospitalization number down before relaxing restrictions. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
14 new deaths, 366 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta

Province nearing 100K COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Black Press file photo
Leduc RCMP investigate serious collision involving train

Leduc RCMP were called to a collision between a train and truck on Centre Street in New Sarepta.

Elder Muriel Lee. (Photo submitted)
Maskwacis Elder Mentoring Program connects Elders with young parents

By Chevi Rabbit For Black Press Media The Maskwacis Elders Mentoring Program,… Continue reading

Pipestone Flyer file photo
Nominations now open for 2021 general municipal election

Nominations for Wetaskiwin’s general municipal election are now open until Sept. 20, 2021.

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Photo submitted)
Central Alberta researchers recognized for studies in agricultural sciences

Jessica Sperber of Ponoka and David MacTaggart of Lacombe awarded prestigious scholarship

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

A ground worker wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 unloads lobsters from a WestJet Airlines flight at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Trudeau teases stricter travel measures; Canadians flying to U.S. now need COVID test

Prime minister says measures need to not hurt imports and essential trade

(Photo submitted)
Ponoka RCMP receives new police puppy trainee

Detachment says goodbye to ‘Maja’ and welcomes ‘Neutron’

Art Kempf, originally from the Stettler area but now living in Lacombe, is pictured here with his late wife Lillian. Art’s 100th birthday is coming up on Feb. 22nd.
photo submitted
Former Stettler area resident Art Kempf will be celebrating a very special day next month

Kempf, now a Lacombe resident, marks his 100th birthday on Feb. 22nd

'The Coronavirus Isn't Scary' by Kristy Walker.
Sylvan Lake author pens first children’s book about COVID-19

“The Coronavirus Isn’t Scary” by Kristy Walker teaches children to take care of themselves

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie are serving sit-down customers in their Mirror diner to protest health restrictions that they say are unfair to restaurants and other small businesses. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
Central Alberta restaurant owner defies health restrictions by serving diners

Whistle Stop Cafe owner says pandemic restrictions unfair to restaurants and small businesses

The Northwest Territories flag flies on a flagpole in Ottawa on July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta man charged with threatening Northwest Territories public health officer

Police did reveal the nature of the threats, but said it was concerning

Most Read