A black Labrador Retriever named Sadie is responsible for a province wide relaxation of the rules that apply to patios and micro-breweries.
The Second Wedge Brewing Company opened in Uxbridge, Ontario in December 2015. It was actually a “tasting room”, rather than a pub, as they didn’t serve food, only a few packaged snacks. The owners, Rob Garrard and Joanne Richter, brought their black Lab Sadie to work (and to charm the clientele) and encouraged dog owners to bring their dogs, as they do in British pubs.
At first the brewery had package snacks available. However, Uxbridge has several excellent nearby restaurants, so eventually patrons preferred to get their food as “take out” and took it over to the Second Wedge where they and their canine friends could share a meal and a glass of the excellent beer, made on site.
Named for the “Uxbridge Wedge”, the second of the four wedges of the Oak Ridges Moraine, the tasting room attracted many visitors from out of town who enjoyed running, cycling or hiking the nearby rollercoaster trails (Uxbridge is the Trail Capital of Canada) and relished a cold one afterwards.
The dog friendly brewery had become a local success story until July 29 of this year when an anonymous complaint was filed with Durham Region’s Health. Nine days later, another complaint was filed. Although all previous inspections had permitted dogs on site, after the second complaint the health inspectors informed the Second Wedge owners that dogs (including their own Sadie) would no longer be permitted indoors.
An apologetic note, prominent on the front door, informed customers that their dogs could not enter the premises.
On August 30th
the brewery launched a petition that would allow dogs in breweries. They received 7,000 signatures and the support of 40 other Ontario breweries. The owners also appealed to the provincial government.
Fortunately, the MPP for Uxbridge-Pickering is Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy. On Oct. 4 he made a formal request to MPP Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, asking the province to re-examine the health code regulations.
On Saturday, November 2nd
, Bethlenfalvy, Sakaria, and Christine Elliot, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health joined several local and regional politicians in the Second Wedge’s Brewery for an important announcement. Also in attendance were Richard Paquette, CKC Director for Zone 4, and life member Mike Macbeth, an Uxbridge resident representing the CKC and the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of Canada, with two of her dogs.
The Brewery was packed with supporters and their dogs. Despite the crush of the standing only crowd the dogs were all relaxed and friendly, including Peter Bethlenfalvy’s Miniature Schnauzer. There wasn’t even a single bark, proving that well behaved dogs deserved the opportunity to join their owners at The Second Wedge.
Mr Paquette and Ms Macbeth had the opportunity to speak at length with Mr. Bethlenfalvy prior to the government’s announcement, assuring him of the CKC’s support of any dog friendly legislation, and offering detailed information about the billions of dollars spent annually on the canine industry, proving the financial advantage and cultural importance of dog ownership.
The three Ontario MPP’s announced that Ontario is proposing a bill to allow businesses the option to permit dogs within indoor spaces such as breweries (where food is not prepared) as well as restaurant outdoor patios. If passed, the proposed changes, giving business owners greater choice and flexibility, will come into effect January 1, 2020.
In the meantime, Sadie will resume greeting patrons of Uxbridge’s Second Wedge Brewery, which she considers her full-time job.
Read more about how CKC supported the proposed legislation and how you can provide feedback on the proposed changes on CKC’s website