Downtown Nashville Has More Pets than Kids – New Efforts Make Life Better for People & Pets

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Making Nashville even more pet-friendly
Mars Petcare and partners plan to implement policy changes and cover adoption fees

This summer, Nashville will add a few more reasons to be known as a growing, thriving city to visit and live – for people and their pets. Today, Mars Petcare, together with Mayor Barry and other partners, announced a $350,000+ investment in the City of Nashville to make it easier for visitors and residents to welcome pets into their homes and into more public places.

A two-day adoption event, new policies and increased pet-friendly amenities in Downtown Nashville are the latest commitments of the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ initiative, which brings the voice of pets and their owners to places of influence, advocating for fewer pets in shelters, more pet-friendly places, and happier, healthier lives for both people and pets.

“Making life better starts in the homes and cities we live in, so we’re taking steps to create solutions that lead to good homes here in Middle Tennessee,” said Chris Mondzelewski, Mars Petcare general manager, natural brands. “Pets can’t speak for themselves, so now more than ever, it’s time for cities to adapt with these changes by increasing opportunities for people and pets to live, work and play together in the places they call home.”

Accommodating More Pets in a Booming City

It’s no secret that Nashville is growing – and with increased urbanization and more people moving into the city, this has an impact on the pet population. In fact, according to estimates, the Nashville area could be home to more than a million pets in just a few years. According to a recent survey by Downtown Nashville Partnership, more than 3,000 dogs live in Downtown Nashville. With this fast-moving population growth comes a need for more policies and homes that welcome pets in cities.

“My dogs bring so much joy to my life, and I want more Nashvillians to be able to experience that same joy,” said Mayor Megan Barry. “Bringing together private and public partners to create more housing choices for people with pets and creating more pet-friendly spaces, especially in the urban core, will lead to happier and healthier lives for our residents.”

To address these challenges, this summer, an innovative public-private partnership will make Nashville better for pets by encouraging adoption, adding pet-friendly amenities and offering resources that will make it easier to welcome pets into homes and make city living easier for pet owners.

Pet-Friendly Programs and Amenities

Mars Petcare and its partners are proud to help their hometown by investing in pet-friendly programs and amenities in Middle Tennessee in the following ways:

– Revisiting Breed and Size Bans: Mars Petcare is working with partners like ONEC1TY, one of the largest urban communities under construction in downtown Nashville, and MarketStreet, a developer known for its pet-friendly communities like Pine Street Flats, to revisit size and breed restrictions in local residential communities. One of the most common reasons people give for surrendering pets to shelters is that they can’t have their pet with them where they plan to live, and policy changes are a critical way to address this.

– Installing Pet-Friendly Amenities Downtown: Together with the Downtown Nashville Partnership, Mars Petcare is supporting the needs of urban pet owners by installing more waste and hydration stations downtown, and creating “parklets” that offer more green space for pets to “go.” These amenities are also emerging as a priority for local pet owners; more than 50 percent of downtown residents surveyed recently said they wished there were more waste and hydration amenities for local pups, and nearly 40 percent want more dog-friendly parks in the area, and local partners are responding to this desire.

– Improving the Residential Pet Experience: Several developers and communities (ONEC1TY, Pine Street Flats) are incorporating pet-focused amenities and activities into their residential living communities, and working with Mars Petcare to promote responsible pet ownership through education in these communities. From indoor/outdoor dog runs and agility courses, to pet spas and on-site pet concierge services, living with a pet is about to become much easier in Nashville.

– Making Public and Park Space Better for Pets: In partnership with the City of Nashville, Mars Petcare is supporting more pet-friendly public places, including welcoming pets into the Nashville Farmers’ Market for the first time ever beginning this fall. As part of its Master Plan, Metro Parks is investing in more regional dog parks, including a premier destination dog park.

“Knowing that our residents have more pets than ever, we are working to implement new amenities to make the quality of life better for all family members, including those with four legs,” said Tom Turner, president & CEO, Nashville Downtown Partnership.

Together, these partners are working on policy and practical solutions that create a sustainable pet-friendly environment, in the home and within the city.

Encouraging Nashville Residents to Bring Love Home

No city can be truly pet-friendly with a high volume of unwanted pets in shelters. To further encourage local residents to welcome pets into their homes, Mars Petcare is once again making it even easier to adopt from three local shelters this summer. On Friday, August 25 and Saturday, August 26, Mars Petcare will cover adoption fees at Metro Animal Care & Control, Nashville Humane Association and Williamson County Animal Center.

Doors will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Mars Petcare experts will be present at all three shelters, offering advice on how to help pets adjust to their new life, as well as how to prepare their home for a new furry friend. New pet owners will also receive a goodie bag packed with helpful educational materials, product samples and other additional materials for their new pet.

There’s no better time to assess and implement new policies to be sure Nashville is building a future for these families – starting at home. For more information about Mars Petcare and to learn how you can help make Nashville and other cities more pet friendly so everyone can have a better, healthier life, join the movement at www.bettercitiesforpets.com.

About Mars Petcare US
Mars Petcare is the world’s leading pet nutrition and health care business. A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS® is the vision statement held by Mars Petcare as we believe that pets make our lives better and that pet ownership brings joy and benefits which should be accessible to everyone. In the United States, Mars Petcare food brands include PEDIGREE®, IAMS®, ROYAL CANIN®, GREENIES®, CESAR®, NUTRO® and SHEBA®. Veterinary practices include BANFIELD® and BLUE PEARL®. Specialty brands include WISDOM PANEL® Canine DNA Tests and WHISTLE® GPS Pet Tracker. The company’s WALTHAM™ Centre for Pet Nutrition is a leading scientific authority on pet nutrition and wellbeing. Mars Petcare has more than 37,000 Associates worldwide. For more information about Mars Petcare’s vision: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS®, visit www.bettercitiesforpets.com.

About BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™
BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ is a program of Mars Petcare US, the world’s leading pet nutrition and health care business. The program aims to create enough places for every dog and cat to live, visit and play by supporting shelters, homes, businesses and parks. Mars Petcare works with key partners, businesses and local governments to better understand how to improve communities by: providing safe and welcoming shelters that lead to forever homes; encouraging pet-friendly, responsible homes for pets; welcoming more pets into local businesses, and giving pets plenty of park space to play. For more information about Mars Petcare and BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™, join the movement at www.bettercitiesforpets.com.