We know pets play an important role in our lives - making us happier, healthier, and our communities safer. Through the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program, Mars Petcare is collaborating with mayors across the U.S., including Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee, to create more pet-friendly communities. In addition, BANFIELD® Pet Hospital’s State of Pet Health™ Report highlights a trend of overweight pets and Royal Canin USA President Kamie McHenry Eckert shares why Royal Canin is a special place to work.
Mayors Speak Up for Pet Friendly Cities
If you own a pet, it’s no secret that pets make life better. One hundred percent of U.S. mayors surveyed by Mars Petcare agree too, that pets can have a positive impact on mental and physical health. In partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mars Petcare is working to address and discover how cities across the nation can create more pet-friendly communities as part of its BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ initiative.
Along with this recently launched program, Mars Petcare surveyed mayors to measure the state of pet-friendliness in cities across the country to understand current perceptions, trends, and existing resources for managing animal welfare and quality of life for pets and their owners. Among the 73 respondents across 30 states, the results confirmed the positive influence pets have in both pet owners’ lives and in communities, while also identifying areas that need improvement. “Pets can’t speak for themselves, so it’s up to people and communities to advocate for them,” said Mark Johnson, Mars Petcare North America President. “In partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, we’re bringing together the public and private sectors to work together to advocate for more pet-friendly policies.”
The responses from mayors nationwide revealed:
- 82 percent of mayors agree pet-friendly amenities can have an overall positive economic impact in their communities;
- 66 percent of mayors do not have or are not aware of pet-friendly policies for public spaces, such as restaurants and stores;
- A third of mayors indicated their cities do not have adequate access to pet-friendly greenways or trails, while 35 percent ranked facility upgrades as the greatest need to help homeless pet shelters in their cities;
- 74 percent of mayors agree that offering pet-friendly amenities will help residential rental communities improve, while 81 percent agreed that the availability of pet-friendly amenities can increase residential property values;
- Larger cities reported more pet amenities and financial assistance for pet owners than smaller cities, however, large cities reported the greatest need for outdoor pet-friendly amenities; and
- 69 percent of mayors agreed implementing a responsible pet ownership educational campaign would help their cities become more pet-friendly.
“This survey shows that many of us still have needs for basic amenities for pets, such as parks and green space for people with pets to play and adequate shelters to care for homeless pets. Knowing the largest pain points across our cities will help us to better focus our attention on how to make progress in welcoming people with pets to our communities,” said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry.
Pets Welcome in Franklin, Tennessee!
In June, Mars Petcare celebrated pets – and those who love them – in downtown Franklin, Tennessee by launching Pets Welcome - a new pilot program under the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ initiative that’s aiming to help communities become more pet-friendly.
Through the pilot program, more than 90 local businesses opened their doors to pets to evaluate the positive impact pets have on local economies. Mars Petcare launched the program in Franklin, home to Mars Petcare’s U.S. headquarters, as a model for other American cities. In partnership with the Downtown Franklin Association, City of Franklin, Nashville Civic Design Center, Williamson County Animal Center and Williamson County Convention & Visitors Bureau, businesses who participated received a toolkit and a guide to implement pet-friendly policies. To celebrate the launch, Mars Petcare hosted a two-day event with more than 200 guests, including Congressman Marsha Blackburn, Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, Tennessee House Majority Leader Glen Casada, State Representative Sam Whitson, and Franklin Mayor Ken Moore. Congressman Blackburn was impressed by the event and indicated her support for bringing the concept to Capitol Hill.