Woof! In Shift, City Says Westminster Winners Can Eat at Sardi's After All

Malachy, who won the Best in Show title at the U.S.'s top dog show this year, won't be the end of the line.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    Malachy, a Pekingese, competes for best in show at the 136th annual Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. Malachy went on to win the award. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    It turns out Malachy, the Pekingese, won't be the last canine to dine at Sardi's after all.

    In a change of plans that no doubt has Fidos everywhere licking their chops, the city has decided to allow the longstanding tradition of Westminster Dog Show winners dining at the iconic Midtown restaurant to continue.

    Hours after 2012 victor Malachy chowed down at Sardi's Wednesday, the Bloomberg administration said the restaurant could no longer invite the contest champ to a celebratory dinner, as it has done for 30 years, because the Best in Show dog had to follow the same rules as other canines.

    Health department guidelines prohibit live animals from entering food-service establishments (except the ones patrons might be eating, like lobsters) unless the customer needs a service dog.

    As Health Department spokesman John Kelly put it to the Post earlier, "We can’t just roll over for the champ."

    Now it appears the city has changed its mind. A Health Department spokesperson told NBC New York that starting next year, the commissioner would give special permission to the Westminster winner to dine inside.  

    “Every Westminster winning dog should have his day and his meal," the health department said in a statement. "To maintain the tradition, the Commissioner will grant a waiver to the restaurant for next year’s champion.”