Do You Live in a Certified “Better City for Pets”? You Could!

Some towns and cities are pet-friendlier than others, but that’s not always apparent from the outset. Sure, places get a reputation for having more dog-friendly dining establishments, or for working hard to reduce feral cat populations with TNR programs, or ensuring that animals within their community are fixed before they’re available for adoption.

Recently, the city of Santa Monica qualified for a “Better City For Pets” certification. These are awarded after conducting assessments regarding the pet-friendliness of a city or town’s shelters, homes, parks, and businesses. The hope is that being certified as such will demonstrate to folks that the city is overall welcoming of pets and that they recognize the value they bring to the lives of humans.

dog at outdoor cafe
Photo: Pixabay/Surprising_Shots

Mars Petcare

Evaluations and potential certifications come from Mars Petcare, a Virginia-based manufacturer of pet food and provider of animal care services. According to Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis, there are only about 100 cities currently BCP certified throughout the entire country.

“I applied on behalf of the city in the spring and was thrilled when Santa Monica was certified. Not only does this certification reflect the tremendous work done by our Animal Shelter and our great public amenities for pets, it reaffirms the crucial role pets play in the daily lives of Santa Monicans,” she stated.

dogs playing
Photo: Pixabay/

Traits of the Best Cities for Pets

The BCP website notes that there are 12 traits of a pet-friendly city. They include the following:

1. Partners collaborate to end homelessness
2. Shelters are warm & welcoming to encourage adoption
3. Community cat programs humanely address overpopulation
4. Pet-friendly housing options exist for all families & pets
5. In tough times, support exists to keep pets in homes
6. Pet owners have support to make responsible choices for their pets
7. Pet needs are included in city, park, & green-space planning
8. Public pet amenities support good health for all
9. People know the expectations for pets in public spaces
10. Businesses make it easy to be out with your pets
11. Traveling with dogs & cats is accessible & affordable
12. Workplaces know & support the benefits of pets at work

ladies walking a cat
Photo: Pixabay/icsilviu

Benefits & Rewards of Being a BCP

As a result of certification, qualified cities can apply for a grant to help fund projects. For instance, in Santa Monica, a “pet enrichment and education” space at the Santa Monica Animal Shelter is something they have in mind.

The shelter’s chair, Elizabeth Noble, shared that “The space will be mostly turf and there will be enriching activities for the dogs, which will greatly benefit their wellbeing and help them from becoming anxious or stressed while they are at the shelter.”

While an additional $20,000 would help a lot, just the turf and installation alone is exceeding $30,000, Noble acknowledged.

dogs at park
Photo: Pixabay/MabelAmber

Getting Involved

If you visit their website, which we linked above, they offer tips on how to host community pet adoption events, steps cities can take to be more pet-friendly, and of course, information on how your city can become certified as pet-friendly. They even provide a downloadable playbook for interested persons.

Help Rescue Animals

Provide food and vital supplies to shelter pets at The Animal Rescue Site for free!