SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Downtown Saratoga Springs is about to get even more dog-friendly this spring and summer, thanks to a piece of legislation signed into law by Governor Cuomo late last year.

BILL S4327 legally allows companion dogs to legally dine with their owners at restaurants with outdoor seating that wish to welcome them. Participating restaurants will need to adhere to a set of rules and regulations regarding the new canine diners.

Following passage of the law, several Saratoga Springs restaurants have now joined the Dog-Friendly Downtown Program, an initiative started six years ago by Sloppy Kisses and Saratoga Arts.

Business owners that have declared as dog-friendly are hoping the change will help them reach new customers and increase sales.

“I think if restaurants have the ability and they have the space outside to eat with their animals, I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to bring more people downtown,” said Nancy Bambara, vice President of DZ Restaurants. “We have a great city and there’s are a number of restaurants that beautiful outdoor spaces. So having their animals with them is a great bonus.”

News10 spoke with several Saratoga dog owners who are excited about the possibility of dining outdoors with their dog.

Lifelong dog owner Tammy Rucigay and her 13 year-old service dog Stella are fearless about heading into a crowded lunch spot. She says how trained your dog is will also determine how comfortable people with allergies, germ phobias, and children will be.

“If they train the children how to approach the dog, and not be afraid of the dog,” said Rucigay, “then there will be less problems.”

Sara Hayes, a Saratoga dog owner, says if you’re considering a dog friendly restaurant, you should let your dog choose the spot.

“Maybe with a puppy I would go somewhere busier. They can interact with the other dogs, and I think that’s great,” said Hayes. “Depending on the dog, if they are a little more hesitant or nervous around other dogs maybe I would choose a place that’s not so busy.”

Under the initiative, participating businesses identify and market themselves as specifically dog-friendly by prominently displaying a DFD decal in their window.

The restaurants joining the DFD program are: Boca Bistro, Cantina, Lake Local, Peabody’s Sports Bar and The Local. Saratoga restaurants, PJs-Bar-B-QSA, Putnam Den, Saratoga Winery, The Icehouse and The Wine Bar were already part of the DFD program.

For more information about the Dog-Friendly Downtown program visit: http://dogfriendlydowntown.blogspot.com/