Geneva to let most businesses allow pets, as long as sign is posted

  • Kathy-Ann Pegues of Geneva and her dog Velvet come out of Wet Nose at Geneva Commons. In 30 days, Geneva businesses that want to can posts signs allowing pets, though state law will still prohibit people from bringing pets into restaurants.

    Kathy-Ann Pegues of Geneva and her dog Velvet come out of Wet Nose at Geneva Commons. In 30 days, Geneva businesses that want to can posts signs allowing pets, though state law will still prohibit people from bringing pets into restaurants. Rick West | Staff Photographer, May 2018

 
 
Posted7/17/2018 5:30 AM

Shoppers will soon be able to bring their pets in to some Geneva businesses, but only if those businesses post a notice at their entrance saying they allow that.

The city council voted 8-2 Monday to amend Geneva's current law, which prohibits pets in businesses other than veterinary offices and grooming salons.

 

Aldermen Jeanne McGowan and Robert Swanson voted against the measure. Both support letting businesses have pets in.

"The simplest solution is to let our code reflect that Geneva is already a pet-friendly town and if a business owner does not wish to have pets, simply post a sign saying 'no pets allowed,'" McGowan argued.

Alderman Jim Radecki was the one who moved to require businesses to post notice. That way people who are allergic to pet dander, or are afraid of animals, would know before they entered a business.

"I think this does throw a bone to people who do have concerns about allergies," Alderman Michael Clements said.

Aldermen debated whether requiring a sign was onerous, and whether they should specify the type and size of notice. Some noted that the sign could just be a Post-it note.

Last week, in a committee discussion of the topic, they voted against a suggestion to have businesses that allow pets register with the city and display a city-designed sticker.

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Mayor Kevin Burns cautioned alderman that the code would have to be enforced by the police department, not a community code-enforcement worker. That means a business that allows a pet in, but doesn't display a sign, could be fined $50 to $500 if caught.

Burns suggested eliminating the current law for a year and studying the effect of that.

Monday's measure will take effect in 30 days.

The topic came up in May when a customer at the Geneva Commons shopping center complained to mall management about people bringing dogs in to its stores, and pointed out the practice was illegal. The owners of the Wet Nose pet-supply boutique at the mall then asked city officials to change the law.

State law would still prohibit people from bringing pets in to restaurants.

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