Happy tails: Va. General Assembly OKs measure to allow dogs at wineries

WASHINGTON — Regulations preventing dog owners from bringing their canine companions to wineries in Virginia made some puppy parents and business owners barking mad.

Now, both houses of the Virginia General Assembly have approved a measure that allows those four-legged friends to join their owners on the premises.

Democratic Del. John Bell, of Loudoun County, proposed the legislation — and he has gotten final approval from the state Senate.

Bell told the Loudoun Times-Mirror that some winery owners said they were losing up to 25 percent of their business due to state rules that effectively banned dogs from being anywhere inside a winery or brewery.

Loudoun County is home to many of the state’s wineries.

The new legislation gives winery operators the option of allowing dogs in tasting rooms, though the canines are still forbidden from being around food production.

It’s expected to go into effect July 1.

The Virginia House of Delegates passed the bill 97-2 at the end of January, with only Del. Lee Ware of Powhatan and Del. David Yancey of Newport News opposed.

WTOP’s Sandy Kozel contributed to this report.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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