The collective mental power of local and state officials went to the dogs this week when health officials, taproom owners, county staff and elected leaders held a Dog Summit in the Old Guilford County Court House to work out a way in which man’s best friend could be allowed inside taprooms when their owners want to enjoy a beer.

The question came to the forefront recently when a Guilford County Health Department inspector issued a warning to Joymongers Brewing Co. at 576 N. Eugene St. in Greensboro for allowing dogs inside. Even though no food is prepared at the taproom, state law can be interpreted to classify those types of establishments as “restaurants,” which means dogs that aren’t service animals are not legally allowed inside.  This seems overly restrictive to many area residents – some of whom used social media to express their support for the banned beagles, the excluded Eurasiers and other forbidden furry friends.

The issue has also been cropping up in other parts of North Carolina.  State Rep. Jon Hardister, along with county officials and other local leaders, have begun seeking a solution.

Hardister said this week that he was unable to attend the meeting but he did have a representative there and he said he is hopeful that a commonsense solution can be reached.  He said one promising possibility under discussion is for taprooms across the state to be reclassified to the same regulatory category as wine tasting rooms – which, as long as they don’t serve food, are allowed to have dogs inside.

Guilford County Health Director Merle Green said this week’s meeting was very productive and she added that a wide cross-section of the community was actively seeking a solution.

Green said that, for now, she believes state law does continue to ban dogs from taprooms, but she added that the Guilford County Health Department generally inspects taprooms once a year and her department doesn’t have any intention of deviating from that schedule in the case of Joymongers.

Based on that fact, it seems as though the issue will not arise again for Joymongers at least until 2020 – by which time there very well may have been a clarification of state law.

It should be pointed out that, while by far most of those commenting on Facebook and other social media sites were supportive of allowing the cuddly creatures into taprooms, some posters – especially those with allergies – didn’t want the animals inside whether food was being served or not.