NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A doggone good or doggone bad idea?

New York may soon allow restaurants to welcome dogs in outdoor and patio dining areas.

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The New York state Senate on Wednesday voted to tweak the law that now prohibits pets in restaurants to allow canines in outdoor dining areas.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Kemp Hannon, a Long Island Republican who says his measure would ensure the dogs don’t pose a health hazard.

“A restaurant is not forced to,” Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, who is sponsoring the legislation in the Assembly, told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell. “This is an option.”

Under the bill, restaurants that choose to allow dogs would have to have a separate entrance for the outdoor dining area. Dogs would have to be leashed, and restaurant servers would be prohibited from playing with the animals.

Similar legislation is pending in the Assembly. New York lawmakers say they believe California is the only state currently allowing dogs on restaurant patios.

On the Upper West Side, people are split.

“Actually, we would love it. We would eat out more,” one woman said.

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“Dogs are on the streets, and they’re like stepping on dog poop and pee and everything, and then that is on the restaurant.”

Despite current laws, The Barking Dog on the Upper East Side is a dog friendly restaurant that said it has a legal outdoor space, even a bar for dogs.

“We have a special dog menu also,” Jack Makosa told CBS2’s Sonia Rincon.

Most non-dog owners said they wouldn’t mind.

“As long as they’re outside, no problem,” Elise Mancher said.

But a few did not love the idea.

“I wouldn’t go into a restaurant with a dog,”Carol Abel said.

Rosenthal said restaurant owners could set things up however they want as along as the dogs stay outside.

“Restaurant owners can have separate areas for people with animals and people who don’t want to sit near animals,” she said.

Local health departments could also make specific rules.

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