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Dogs to be allowed into pubs and eateries

Friday, 29 May 2015

Dogs will be allowed into pubs and eateries at the operators' discretion as the Island demonstrates it is a 'dog friendly' destination.

The Department of Environment Food and Agriculture (DEFA) has lifted its restriction on allowing dogs into food premises with immediate effect.

The responsibility will be on proprietors of premises to ensure the presence of dogs doesn't compromise food safety. Advice can be sought from DEFA's Environmental Health Unit on 685894 or ehenquiries@gov.im

Richard Ronan MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said: 'With so many people now visiting the Island accompanied by their pets, allowing dogs into food premises will provide a further boost to tourism and our overall visitor economy.

'This move will allow food businesses the choice to broaden their appeal, where they feel this could be a valuable market and it will allow residents and visitors alike to have more choices.'

DEFA has been working with the Department of Economic Development (DED) on extending the Dogs Welcome scheme to eateries that are part of the Taste Isle of Man quality assurance scheme.

DED's Dogs Welcome scheme has been running successfully for two years for the benefit of self-catering accommodation businesses.

Taste Isle of Man members who wish to become part of the Dogs Welcome scheme or eateries that would like to join Taste Isle of Man should call +44 1624 695700 or email: taste@gov.im

Food premises that don't belong to Taste Isle of Man are not precluded from welcoming dogs.

Minister Ronan said his Department revisited the idea of allowing dogs into pubs and eateries after being contacted by Brenda Cannell MHK, a former DEFA member.

Mrs Cannell said:

'After more than two years of research and lengthy correspondence, I am delighted and very much welcome this change in policy. I feel sure that with energetic marketing, and businesses opening their doors to people with dogs, the Island will greatly benefit economically.'

Mrs Cannell added:

'I wish to thank the Minister for listening and thank those others – in particular Zoe Grundey, a veterinary nurse – who have assisted me in highlighting this excellent opportunity for the Isle of Man to attract existing visitors who are dog owners and new visitors.'

Notes:

What has been the position prior to the policy change?
Prior to 2007, food hygiene regulations prohibited dogs from having access to any food premises to which the public had access. In 2007, the current Food Hygiene Regulations came into force and although they do not specifically exclude domestic animals from food premises, it had been the policy of the Department to maintain the standard achieved prior to the legislative changes.

Why is the policy changing?
The change in policy has come about following discussions with the Tourism Division of the Department of Economic Development. This contributes to the desire to make the Isle of Man a 'dog friendly' tourist destination.

Do operators of food premises have a choice over whether to welcome dogs or other domestic animals?
Permitting dogs into food premises is entirely at the discretion of the operator.

What about guide dogs and other assistance dogs?
Guide and other assistance dogs have, and will continue to be, permitted into food premises. Food business operators should consider that guide and other assistance dogs are highly trained working dogs, not pets, and their very special training means that they are unlikely to pose a risk to hygiene.

What safeguards must operators of premises take to ensure food safety isn't compromised?
Adequate provisions must be made in their food safety management system to prevent/eliminate the risks of contamination within their business operation.

While this change in policy will allow dogs to be permitted into public areas within a food premises, operators must still ensure that adequate procedures are in place to control pests and prevent domestic animals from having access to areas where food is prepared, handled or stored.

What is the definition of a food premises?
Any place, vehicle, stall or moveable structure where commercial operations, with respect to food or food sources, are carried out. This includes premises such as shops, supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, takeaways, public houses, hotels, etc.

What environmental health advice is available to operators of premises and where from?
Advice in relation to the provisions necessary to prevent/eliminate the risks of contamination from the presence of dogs will be provided on a case by case basis. Advice is available from the Environment, Safety and Health Directorate on +44 1624 685894 or ehenquiries@gov.im

How can operators of premises advertise that they welcome dogs?
Eateries that are part of the Taste Isle of Man quality assurance scheme and join the Dogs Welcome scheme may display a logo to show visitors that dogs are welcome. This will be promoted via the Taste Isle of Man directory and online at: www.visitisleofman.com

Many self-catering properties around the Island have already signed up to the Dogs Welcome scheme. With immediate effect, other serviced accommodation premises such as hotels, guest houses and B&Bs are now eligible and are encouraged to contact tourismquality@gov.im for more information.

I don't belong to Taste Isle of Man but would like to welcome dogs. What should I do?
If you own or operate a restaurant, café or pub and would like to join the Taste Isle of Man and Dogs Welcome schemes, email taste@gov.im or call +44 1624 695700.

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