Health inspector cites downtown Orlando ‘dog bar’ for allowing dogs inside

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ORLANDO, Fla. – The owners of a downtown Orlando bar say they’re confused after state health inspectors gave conflicting reports on whether dogs can accompany their customers inside.

Pup’s Pub opened in July.

“Pup’s Pub is an off-the-leash dog park bar,” said co-owner Alex Wright. “The dogs even have memberships. We call them VIPs — very necessary pups.”

Wright said the dogs that come to go to must be vaccinated, spayed or neutered and well-behaved with a purpose to play and use the state-of-the-art “flushing system” that’s installed underneath the substitute turf.

Pup’s Pub in Orlando sports artificial turf with a “flushing system” underneath. (Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.)

He and co-owners Sheila Suhar and Trevor Tackett received $100,000 in a city of Orlando Community Redevelopment Assistance grant to repair up the constructing they were moving into near the corner of North Orange Avenue and Robinson Street.

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An initial inspection from the Florida Department of Health in Orange County earned them a “satisfactory” result.

That modified shortly after opening for business.

“We opened up Pandora’s Box,” Wright said. “We didn’t mean to, but now, that’s happening.”

In July, an FDOH inspector graded Pup’s Pub as “unsatisfactory” for violating a state code that claims, “live animals shall not be allowed.”

The inspector served the owners with a cease-and-desist order telling them to stop allowing dogs inside.

“We were really just in shock,” Wright said. “We might should refund all that membership revenue, and that alone would bankrupt us. I might lose my best friend’s (Tackett) money, I might lose our money and our house. I mean, we put every thing into this.”

He said the inspection results confused them.

“It really didn’t make any sense,” he said. “The very same concept of Pup’s Pub was open in Tampa for nearly two years prior. We’ve passed three health inspections with the Department of Health.”

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News 6 investigated that, and he’s right.

Based on FDOH records, inspectors gave their original Tampa location, which opened in the course of the pandemic, a “satisfactory” rating several times.

The inspector noted on the primary inspection they needed to “install a gate on the bar area before dogs are allowed contained in the constructing.”

A competing bar that also allows dogs inside received several “satisfactory” rankings, as well.

Those self same records show after the Pup’s Pub Orlando location failed their inspection in July, the Tampa locations began failing theirs, too.

News 6 asked FDOH to elucidate the change.

A spokesperson said they might not answer since the case against Pup’s Pub was still open. Wright is asking for a variance, or an exception, that will allow the dogs to remain.

“We’re not asking for quite a bit,” Wright said. “Let’s get this variance approved while we work with the Department of Health on drafting a latest code to properly regulate dog bar concepts moving forward.”

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FDOH responded to Wright’s variance request by asking for more details about sanitization and the “flushing system” under the ground.

He said they’re within the strategy of responding while hoping to remain open and keep his employees employed.

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Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.