By Charlotte Aguilar
In what appears to be a case of wishful thinking exacerbated by false social media accounts, dog owners are having to be reminded once again that their four-legged companions are not allowed in Bellaire’s Evelyn’s Park or its patio-centric casual eatery, Betsy’s.
Patricia King-Ritter, park director, says the conservancy which operates the park will be posting more signs — although they are highly visible already — to let the public know that dogs (and cats) are prohibited under city ordinance.
That follows another round of frequently heated debate on local social media about the permissibility, as well as a rehash of a longstanding discussion about why dogs are only limited to Bellaire’s designed pet facility, the Officer Lucy Dog Park in the southeast corner of the city. Park goers have recounted ugly In-person exchanges between pet owners and those who challenge them, too.
Even the city’s animal control officer has mistakenly advised residents that dogs are permitted after being told so by a manager at Betsy’s, according to an email from the officer provided to Essentials News.
Wrong, says Bellaire’s Parks, Recreation and Facilities Director Karl Miller, citing city ordinance 6-43, part 2. He and King-Ritter agreed that a bill signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott last June is responsible for some of the confusion. It allows restaurants to permit pets on their patios, but both say it does not supersede Bellaire’s ordinance.
”Not sure what possesses people to not want to follow rules,” King-Ritter said.
Good buzz about outdoor dining at Evelyn’s Park describing it as “pet friendly” is also a problem. One Twitter account devoted to recommending Houston-area “locations” shows a dog with its paws on a Betsy’s table and wandering near the children’s playground at the park.
Betsy’s website also shows a clip art image above the park’s address that implies pets are welcome — a cheerful dog with a picnic basket.
Cities that do allow dogs at restaurants generally do so only on patios and only after an application process. Dog owners usually are required to license and inoculate their pets before they bring them to a restaurant and be prepared to show proof of both to protect public safety, and keep them on leashes tight enough to control them.