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The Nebraska Food Code expressly prohibits live animals on the premises of a food establishment 6-501.115 (except for service animals).

However, the Food Code also expressly contemplates the issuance of a variance in situations where the “regulatory authority” (in this case the Health Director) determines that the granting of a modification or waiving certain requirements would not result in a health hazard or nuisance.

The Health Director has identified the terms, provisions and specific conditions under which she would be willing, on a case-by-case basis, to issue a variance to the food code to allow dogs on the outside patio area of a food establishment. The Douglas County Board of Health has approved those terms, provisions and conditions.

A copy of the policy for the issuance of a variance can be found. Dog Friendly Patio Variance

An application to obtain a variance can be found. Application for Dog Friendly Patio

Finally, it should be noted that pursuant to the provisions of section "R," the establishment must provide training to their staff on appropriate dog behavior. The training must be provided by a person or entity that is recognized as an expert in animal behavior. For example, the Nebraska Humane Society has developed a training specifically designed to meet the requirements of the variance. For more information, they can be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dawn Thrapp                                                            Joseph Gaube
Behavior Department                                               Supervisor Retail Food
Nebraska Humane Society                                      Douglas County Health Dept
402-444-7800 ext. 2220                                              402-444-7488

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