Rumor: The City of San Marcos is anti-pet and won’t allow animals at eating establishments and bars.
Fact: Texas State law within the 2006 Texas Food Establishment Rules, which the city has adopted, prohibits animals on the premises of food establishments and bars to prevent contamination of food, equipment, utensils, linens and reduce health risks. Bars also fall under the variance since they often serve food, prepare drinks and have food service equipment like ice machines. Municipalities must follow State laws.
The law allows the City to adopt an ordinance to grant variances that would allow dining with pets, while still mitigating and preventing contamination and health and safety issues.
In August 2015, after several discussions during public meetings, the City adopted a ‘Dining with Dogs’ ordinance that allows food establishments to apply for a variance to allow dogs at eateries if certain accommodations are made to reduce health and safety risks, including separate outdoor dining spaces with separate entrances for pets and owners. You can view the entire list of conditions at http://www.sanmarcostx.gov/diningwithdogs. To date only one restaurant in San Marcos has applied for a dining with dog variance. The restaurant was granted a variance.