A recently signed Senate bill will allow dog-owners to bring Fido to many of their favorite eateries — if the restaurant permits it.

SB 476 will go into effect on Sept. 1, and it details the extent to which a dog is permitted around restaurants. State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) is listed as a co-author and has followed the bill since its inception.

According to SB 476 dogs are permitted to stay at any outside dining areas as long as: they are able to get there without having to go through the inside of the restaurant; the dog is kept on a leash; they do not sit on chairs or on the table; the food is not prepared where the dog is sitting.

The restaurant has to clearly state on a posted sign that they allow dogs in the area.

The bill also states no municipality may pass more stringent requirements than this and this bill does not affect any part of how service animals operate. Those laws remain the same.

Before this bill passed each municipality had its own requirements for dog-friendly restaurants, which is why in Lufkin there are some eateries that already allow dogs.

Buffalo Wild Wings’ manager April Unsell said the restaurant is ‘’very’’ dog-friendly.

“For us, we see people’s dogs like we do kids,” she said. “A lot of our customers get off work and they want to spend time with their pets because they haven’t seen them all day, but they also want to go out to eat. So we say bring your pet out with you.”

Ray’s Drive In and Restoration Wine Bar allow dogs on their patio. Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt has said they allow dogs to sit outside their doors where some patio furniture is set up for customers. The Standpipe Coffee House also welcomes dogs, both inside and out.

Dog owners should call the restaurant and make sure they’re dog-friendly before bringing along any furry friends. The law does not require any business to become dog friendly just because it has a patio.

Jess Huff’s email address is jess.huff@lufkindailynews.com.