SHAWNEE, Kan. — Dogs are now allowed back inside Transport Brewery in Shawnee, Kansas.
“It’s great to have the heartbeat of the brewery back," said Christie Jackson, operations manager at Transport Brewery. "When there weren’t dogs here, there was something that was missing."
KSHB 41 initially reported last fall on a new code change in the Kansas law that prohibited animals at food establishments.
At the time, it forced Transport Brewery to turn away all its furry animals.
This devastated the community, because so much of the brewery’s identity was built around their furry friends.
The issue quickly became a hot topic in the neighborhood, and the regulars immediately rallied behind the establishment.
Together they launched “Charlie’s Cause,” a call to action for people to contact their local lawmakers.
It was also an homage to a pug who frequented the business with his human, Rusty. After Charlie passed, the effort to bring back dogs into the brewery was named in his honor.
“Everyday people were posting pictures and saying, bring dogs back to Transport, Charlie’s Cause, what did you do?!” Jackson said.
Loyal customers along with leadership fought for months to change that law.
They ultimately introduced a bill that successfully gained the support of the House and Senate. Gov. Laura Kelly signed the bill on April 24, 2023.
The measure helped distinguish the difference between a microbrewery and a restaurant that sells food.
Jackson hopes there can be clearer clarification on these rules going forward, so that they will not have to keep fighting for new policies, bills or statutes.
“Just know what microbrewery is and having a set of guidelines," Jackson said. "And we’d be happy to help create them so that other breweries in the state of Kansas don’t have to go through what we go through."
The new provisions do outline some rules. It is now mandatory for dogs to be on a leash, stay off furniture, not share water bowls and have a designated pet relief station.
For regulars Andrew Wetschensky, Sarah Lake and their six-year-old corgi, Kate, they are more than happy to oblige.
“Definitely a lot more dog hair is back, but just to have everybody here again, I mean everybody is just so excited,” Lake said. “Just to be able to know that you can have your whole family here and still enjoy our evening is nice. And you know, you don’t have to leave her at home. Cause that was the worst — she definitely knew we would be going without her.”