Animal Welfare

Mutts Cantina, Dallas' New Dog Park/Cafe, Inspires Predictable Backlash With Breed Ban

You can always tell when a dog owner has no kids. They always seems to have the spare time and disposable income to hang out at the dog park, buy organic kibble and artisan chew toys, and lounge with their pets on their favorite restaurant patio. These are the people who look exasperated parents in the eye, shake their head in commiseration, and say they know exactly what it's like.

This is the crowd that Mutts Cantina was dreamed up to appeal to. The Uptown eatery not only has food -- hard to be an eatery without that -- it also has a built-in dog park. Sure enough, canines and humans alike flocked there for the grand opening on Wednesday.

But the owners of Mutts Cantina seem to have slightly misread the childless, dog-loving demographic, since they put in place a rule that seemed specifically designed to piss them off:

The dog park does not allow the following breeds to enter: Chow, Presa Canario, Doberman, Malamute, husky, German shepherd, Rottweiler, pit bull or Shar Pei.

When the restaurant enforced the rule on Wednesday, barring entry to a woman who was accompanied by a prohibited breed -- CultureMap's Teresa Gubbins has the play-by-play -- the backlash was as immediate and predictable.

The angry comments have mostly been scrubbed from Mutt's Facebook page and replaced with a notice that now, only pit bulls are banned:

The Mutts team listened to our guests and made a change to the dog park rules. As before, no dog breeds are banned from Mutts. All dog breeds are allowed on the patio with a leash. Based on numerous business factors, liability included, we will only restrict pit bulls from being allowed off leash in the dog park. And of course, all service dogs are welcome at Mutts, with or without a leash.

Too little, too late it seems. "Unfortunately, I will not visit your business until all breeds are allowed everywhere in the dog park," one commenter writes. "Breed specific legislation--or in your case--breed specific business rules show your lack of dog knowledge and understanding of your target customer(s). There are no bad breeds, only bad owners."

And here's Yvonne Ybarra, who sparked the protest after posting the breed policy on her Facebook page:

I read the first sentence of this status and got so excited! I thought, we can help educate people! People actually do listen and learn! Then I kept reading. "We will only restrict pit bulls from being allowed off leash in the dog park." I'm shaking and tearing up. To me this is akin to saying, "People of all races are allowed to sit anywhere in our restaurant, with the exception of Latinos, who must use the drive-thru." Not even angry anymore. Just sad.

That's exactly what it's like.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson

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