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Board of Health regulation is unfair

June 25, 2012
The Board of Health of Longmeadow has passed a regulation that forbids dogs accompanying their owners at any outdoor eatery in Longmeadow.
For some 16 years, I have walked my dog and stopped by at Starbucks' outdoor tables to purchase refreshments and socialize with other citizens.
Starbucks has over the years, become a central meeting place for our community. Dogs sharing tables at outdoor eateries has long been part of everyone's lifetime experience, but in Longmeadow, our Board of Health has now said no.
Other restaurants in nearby communities have no problem with dogs at outdoor eateries including Max's Tavern (Springfield), Spoletos (East Longmeadow) Panera Bread (East Longmeadow), and Starbucks (East Longmeadow).
Since there has been no known case of a person getting sick from a dog accompanying its owner at an outdoor eating facility, I feel that the Longmeadow Board of Health has over-stepped its authority. It is of some concern that this new regulation may only result in dogs being left in hot cars causing unnecessary animal suffering.
I feel that the best course of action would be for a variance to be approved so that Starbucks and other restaurants may over-ride this unfair regulation by the Longmeadow Board of Health.
Please let our Board of Selectmen know how you feel on this issue.
Susan Altman
Longmeadow
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