Monday, July 31, 2006

Made a rare venture out of the house in the daytime today to discover that Toronto bars can no longer allow dogs on patios. It's actually provincial legislation and it will take some time before people actually start paying attention to this absurd law but, with health inspectors out enforcing the law in full force, this is the beginning of the end of the dog days of summer.

I'm not a dog person. I am a bar person, though. And. of the few thousand times I've shared a patio with dogs, I have never witnessed a problem. They are generally welcomed and fawned over by the customers and, in many bars, waitstaff bring out a dish of water.

For many customers, it's a nice civilized ritual to take the dog out fo a stroll and grab a quick pint. And, since we're in the outdoors, where a pigeon could easily crap on your food, I think it's more than a little bizarre to start worrying about the bacteria brought in by puppy.

In fact, I am in support of bar cats, like the kind you find in Belgium or France or, (used to be) the Rivoli on Queen. In New York, a particularly lovely bar called Chumley's has three very fat labradors who visit every evening and are late night fixtures.

But, then again, there's little hope for a sane approach at assessing real public risk these days, as evidenced by the news today that the USDA is hassling the Hemingway Home and Museum about getting rid of the sixty cats that roam the property. They are descendents of a multi-toed cat given to Hemingway in 1935 and are vaccinated, fed and well looked after. And a menace to Key West, obviously.

Regulate the beef industry to clean up the e.coli problem? Not today, thanks. Right now we're dealing with the cat problem in Florida.

Second link found at Bookslut.