A new bill before the state Legislature would loosen restrictions, giving restaurants the option of allowing dogs into back gardens and sidewalk patios when accompanied by a human diner.

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NEW YORK — Not counting the city’s several million rats, which it is better not to think about, there is no more ubiquitous mammal in this city of concrete and steel than our pet dogs. They fertilize the sidewalks. They ride the subways in Louis Vuitton totes. They fill the air with their barks.

Now they may be joining the brunch crowds.

New York state health law has long banned dogs from restaurants, leaving dog owners to patronize permissive sidewalk cafes or leave their companions at home. But a new bill before the state Legislature would loosen those restrictions, giving restaurants the option of allowing dogs into back gardens and sidewalk patios when accompanied by a human diner.

Though common practice in Europe, where dogs are allowed nearly everywhere, and even in Los Angeles, it is a right New York dog owners have long clamored for. And Sunday, with its idyllic weather and holiday spirit, seemed a fitting time to ask the city’s brunchgoers where they stood on the dining question of the moment.

“We don’t want to go to restaurants that are anti-dog, as amazing as they might be,” explained David Needleman, 36, speaking for the dog lobby, as Irving, his 5-year-old cockapoo, sniffed patiently around his feet at the Carroll Gardens farmers market.

“It’s like a member of the family,” agreed Needleman’s husband, Evan Minskoff, 37.

Though many restaurants already allow dogs to be tied up near their owners’ sidewalk tables, the couple said they almost never bring Irving (after Irving Penn or Irving Berlin, depending on which spouse you ask) to such places, on account of the dog’s anxiety.

Similar jitters afflict the younger bulldog of Dino Conte, a waiter at Pane e Vino in Cobble Hill, forcing him to leave both bulldogs at home.

“Every time I go away on vacation, I wish I could bring them to the hotel,” he said wistfully. “I miss them all the time.”

An opposing view, though, holds that the bill goes too far in allowing dogs and their hair, dander and fleas anywhere near eggs and mimosas. One assemblyman, Richard Gottfried, a Democrat, has already raised the specter of large dogs snatching food from tables.

Barbara Etzin is so uncomfortable around dogs that she crosses the street to avoid them. Eating outside is “a real perk,” she said, “but I don’t want to share my food with an animal.” The presence of a large black Labrador eating brunch a table away from her at Cotta on the Upper West Side of New York City on Sunday afternoon was, therefore, less than thrilling.

“But you share your food with me,” her son, Lance Etzin, said.

“Fine,” she said. “A four-legged animal.”

Most brunchgoers interviewed Sunday said they would welcome well-behaved dogs, which, they pointed out, were no more disruptive than children — far less, in fact, than many children. (An issue for another time.)

But dog detractors were not hard to find. “Where does it end?” said Pamela Makina, wrinkling her nose behind a large pair of sunglasses as she waited for pancakes at Café Luluc in Carroll Gardens in New York. “Can I bring my cow? My goat?”

Service dogs are already allowed in virtually all situations. Hence the small Shih Tzu named Stella in a stroller outside Café Fiorello on the Upper West Side of New York City on Sunday, acting as a certified Emotional Support Animal to Barbara Insler.

Even if the law passes, several restaurant managers Sunday said they would not automatically welcome dogs.

At Bar Tabac in Cobble Hill, dogs must be tied up on the sidewalk away from the tables. When dogs were allowed closer to the action, “we had so many troubles, people letting their dogs finish their food, or feeding them scraps,” said Jane Satsuk, Bar Tabac’s manager. “All the tables are covered with dogs, and dogs are fighting.”

Extra Virgin in the West Village welcomes dogs onto its sidewalk patio; bowls of water are on the house. The more delicate problem: how to tell wealthy and celebrated customers that their lap dogs do not belong indoors.

“At Cipriani’s, they always let us bring our dog inside!” retorted one fur-swathed woman who wanted her rhinestone-collared dog to sit on her lap and eat table scraps. (A scribbled note declaring she needed the dog for anxiety management failed to persuade the staff.)

“It’s like, Obama can’t bring a dog in here,” sighed the manager, Ava Paloma, as she recalled an encounter with an actress. But, Paloma hastened to add, “We love dogs!”

Trousers, the pug belonging to Laura Newman, 25, a waitress at Dover in Carroll Gardens, is already accustomed to fine dining at home: Newman’s boyfriend is a Dover chef who feeds Trousers exquisite plates of pork loin garnished with flowering kale.

But should he be allowed into any restaurant gardens, Newman said, he will not be eating alongside his companions.

“He’s really well behaved,” she promised. “He’ll just be sitting under the table.”