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Dog Friendliest Cities

Knoxville's Mardi Growl Parade.

Knoxville's Mardi Growl Parade.

Knoxville, Tennessee has announced that it wants to be the most dog-friendly city in the country.  That’s a very ambitious goal!  But they seem to be off to a good start.

Here’s the story:

The city of Knoxville, Knox County, the University of Tennessee, the Knoxville Chamber, the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corp., Young-Williams Animal Center and PetSafe have joined the push, nicknamed the “Pet Friendliest” effort.

“Ultimately, being the most pet-friendly community in America can offer great benefits to our citizens, and it can also have a significant positive impact on local tourism,” said Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale in a press release on Wednesday.

Added Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam: “People love their pets, and we are very supportive of this initiative that increases the number of pet-friendly activities and locations in our community.”

The Pet Friendliest effort will focus on three areas:

Major expansion of pet activities and events

Pet-focused tourism

More pet-friendly park acres and businesses

The coalition seeks to create a community-based culture that harbors pet-friendliness as an established part of daily life.

To gauge its progress or to get involved, visit the coalition’s new Web site – www.petfriendliestcommunity.com.

So far, successful efforts of the Pet Friendly Community Committee include the February Mardi Growl Parade, hosted by the city and Young-Williams; the establishment of two community dog parks and planning for at least five more; and the identification of almost 3,000 pet-friendly hotel rooms in the community.

Not bad.  I visit Knoxville several times a year.  I have friends who live there and I usually take my dogs to some dog shows there.  The only major complaint I have about the city is that they do have a pet limit inside the city limits and there has been talk of trying to institute a similar pet limit in county areas.  There has been some talk of trying to label anyone with four cats and/or dogs as a “kennel” which would require licensing and inspection.  LOL  Really!  Where do they get these ideas?  I know lots of people who have a couple of cats and a couple of dogs.  That doesn’t make them a kennel!  I have five dogs and I don’t have a kennel.  My dogs are all housepets.

When you think about it, the whole idea of pet limits is very misguided.  You have people upset all the time because we have to euthanize 3-4 million cats and dogs per year.  And yet there are lots of people who have the room, even in cities, to adopt or foster more than three or four pets.  However, they’re unable to do so because so many cities have put pet limits in place.  This cuts down on the number of people who can take in adoptable animals.  If people want to adopt and they have the room and resources, why are they being prevented?  Pet limits are just a bad idea, especially when so many local governments and rescues and shelters say they want to reduce the numbers of animals euthanized every year.

Especially right now, when more pets are being turned in to shelters by owners who can’t afford to keep them, wouldn’t it be nice if pet limits were waived so more people could adopt more animals?  With the animals coming from shelters they would still be spayed and neutered so there would be no fear of them reproducing.  But it could cut down on the number who were put to sleep.  More animals could be fostered for people who were having temporary financial problems.

But, like many common sense ideas, it probably won’t happen.

Here’s the current list of dog-friendliest cities:

DogFriendly.com’s 2009 Top 10 U.S. Cities to Visit With Your Dog

DogFriendly.com compiles this list for people who want to take their dogs with them on vacation. The rankings take into account the quality of dog-friendly accommodations, transportation, beaches, parks, attractions, stores, dining and things to do with your dog.

1. San Francisco – Luxurious hotels. Plenty of pet-friendly patio dining. Many off-leash beaches and areas. Ride the cable car, walk the Golden Gate.

2. Austin – Dine in outdoor cafes. Visit the Zilker Botanical Gardens. See the Congress Street Bats. Many off-leash parks.

3. Boston – Tour Boston harbor by boat. Walk the Freedom Trail and explore many National Historical Sites. Your leashed dog is welcome on the subway.

4. Northern Virginia – Enjoy a yappy hour or dine in dog-friendly Alexandria. Take the Canine Cruise. Visit outdoor monuments and nearby Washington.

5. Portland (OR)- Enjoy off-leash areas and the famous Rose Gardens. Visit the Saturday Outdoor Market. Have a drink at the Lucky Lab.

6. Charleston (SC) – Take a ghost tour or walking tour. See the grounds of the Magnolia and Boone Hall Plantations. Visit the beach.

7. Chicago – Visit Navy Pier. Ride the Canine Cruise. See Buckingham Fountain, take a walk in Oak Park. Many dog-friendly patio restaurants.

8. San Diego – Visit fabulous dog beaches. Shop at dog-friendly Otay Ranch with its dog park. Dine outdoors and hike many parks.

9. New York – Stay in a fine hotel. Take a walking tour of lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. Shop at Time Warner Center. See the Balto Statue and Central Park.

10. Ann Arbor – Visit Nichols Arboretum, rent a dog-friendly canoe. Visit nearby gardens and farms. Visit many local parks.

Honorable Mentions: Dallas, Madison/Wisconsin Dells, Minneapolis, Salt Lake, Seattle

See here for DogFriendly.com’s Top 10 Resort Areas to visit with a Dog in the U.S.

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July 29, 2009 - Posted by | dogs, Pets | , , , , ,

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