Lady in red shorts and sleeveless black top jogging in a park while pushing a stroller and with a light brown dog on a leash

Pet Friendly Cities & Grant Opportunities

Mars Petcare launched the Better Cities For Pets program in 2017 to promote pet friendly cities so that people and pets can have a better life together. It is no secret that pets reduce anxiety and depression, improve attendance at pet friendly work spaces, provide protection and help pet owners exercise by going on walks or having play dates at the park. With all the known benefits of owning a pet, wouldn’t it be great to live in a city that was accepting of and accommodating to these four-legged friends? Communities can now become recognized as being pet friendly cities.

Some of the cities that are recognized by the Better Cities For Pets program include:

  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Richmond, VA
  • Franklin, TN
  • Washington, D. C.
  • Cleveland, TN
  • St. Petersburg, FL

Qualifications Required to be Named a Pet Friendly City

Better Cities For Pets has an online assessment to determine if your city is pet friendly. The assessment includes factors such as your city profile, a city survey and priorities. The city profile asks questions regarding how many pets are in the city and what pet programs are available such as pet friendly parks. The city survey evaluates animal shelters and whether the city has a plan in place to protect pets should a natural disaster occur. Priorities include a city taking an active position in moving towards becoming a more pet friendly city.

12 Traits of Pet Friendly Cities according to the Better Cities for Pets Model:

  • Shelters
    • Partners collaborate to end pet homelessness
    • Shelters are warm and welcoming to encourage adoption
    • Community cat programs humanely address overpopulation
  • Homes
    • Pet friendly housing options exist for all families and pets
    • In tough times, support exists to help keep pets in homes
    • Pet amenities are available in housing and neighborhoods
  • Parks
    • People know the expectations for pets in public places
    • Public pet amenities support good health for all
    • Pet needs are included in city, park and green space planning
  • Businesses
    • Workplaces know and support the benefits of pets at work
    • Traveling with dogs and cats is accessible and affordable
    • Businesses make it easy to be out with your pet

Since its inaugural year, the program has impacted more than 100 cities, providing $100,000 in grants and $1 million in pet food donations, as well as resources and city-specific guidance to help more communities become pet friendly.

The United States Conference of Mayors hosts a grant competition each year for communities who are wanting to progress towards becoming more pet friendly cities. Creating a more welcoming place for people and pets to live increases property values and improves the health of the citizens within the community. There were three recipients of the 2018 Better Cities For Pets Grant:

  1. Large City Winner: Ft. Worth, TX/ Pets for Life: received a $50,000 grant to locally implement “Pets for Life”, a national program that provides pet wellness resources to residents in under-served communities.
  2. Medium City Winner: Richmond, VA/ Pet Partners: received a $30,000 grant to work with Pet Partners, a national non-profit organization that focuses on improving human health and wellness through the power of pet therapy.
  3. Small City Winner: Hallandale Beach, FL/ Happy/ Healthy Pets: received a $20,000 grant to establish a Responsible Pet Ownership campaign to provide education to drive positive outcomes for health and safety of pets, pet owners and the community.

In a surprise announcement, Mars Petcare decided to give EVERY city that applied for the 2018 grant free pet food donations for their local shelters and care facilities.

To apply for the Better Cities For Pets certificate visit: Better Cities For Pets

To apply for grant funding visit: Mars Petcare

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