Just as winners of the Indianapolis 500 drink from a bottle of milk, it has been a long-standing tradition that the Westminster Dog Show’s winning dog celebrates their victory with a free meal at the famous New York restaurant Sardi’s. Although Malachy, the recent Best in Show-winning Pekingese was given a plate of chicken and rice in a private room away from other diners, the city Health Department decided to end any future exceptions to pets being allowed into dining establishments without proper clearance (for example, a service dog). This common health code had long been ignored in favor of this yearly ritual.
In a surprising turn of events after a great deal of negative publicity, the city’s Health Department Commissioner decided to reinstate the tradition for at least one more year by granting a waiver. Only time will tell if winners subsequent to 2013 will continue the tradition or be held to the rules.