Dogs in cafes - the facts. Also: fake food hygiene inspectors?

I know that dogs in cafes is a controversial subject - but at least I now have a definitive answer to the vexed question of whether or not they are allowed by law. The answer is yes, they are.

I wrote to Islington Director of Public Health Julie Billett (responsible for food hygiene in Islington), after one cafe owner in Stroud Green Road told me they had been instructed by a council food inspector to exclude all dogs from the premises.

This is incorrect. The response is unequivocal: customers pets ARE allowed in food service areas in cafes and restaurants AT THE CAFE OWNER’S DISCRETION. The council has no powers to ban them (and does not wish to, as far as I can tell). So anyone who tells you it’s against the law is wrong. Obviously this doesn’t apply to food PREPARATION and STORAGE areas - kitchens and behind the counter.

Interestingly, Julie Billett also mentioned that there have been cases of ‘people fraudulently posing as food hygiene inspectors’ and collecting a fee from cafes for their ‘advice’. I don’t think this was the case i this instance - the council food inspector was simply wrong. Still, if a cafe has had a visit from a 'food hygiene inspector’ who wanted payment on the spot for their services - the council would like to know.


  • edited January 2018
    The company I work for allows dogs in all our shops, our shop in Crouch End keeps a jar of dog biscuits on the counter especially for the amount of dogs that visit them. In central London we have a lot of homeless people passing through with dogs to avail themselves of the lavs. We do ask for dogs to be kept on lead or in a carrier in the children's dept and in the cafes. Not all children like dogs and vice versa.
  • That is good news - I can combine a dog walk in CE with buying a book or two then. Civilised.
  • Perhaps some cafe's have a more open food preparation area which would mean they can't have dogs?

    Less of a closed of counter, and more of a kitchen island?
  • edited January 2018
    It's completely at the discretion of the business, some businesses are so wary of complaints about allergies, people being afraid of dogs etc. that they might decide to just go with a no dogs policy. That's pretty common in the West End. Middle Eastern customers in particular are not keen on dogs so the department stores and high end fashion stores usually say no animals except guide dogs.
  • edited January 2018
    Glad to be able to return to one of my favourite cafes with our dog!
  • They don't have to let your dog in. It is entirely up to the cafe.
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