A City that Cares – an Excerpt from the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ 2019 Annual Report

People want to know their city supports pets and pet owners.

In every city, being pet-friendly starts with working to end pet homelessness. More and more cities recognize the importance of funding animal welfare programs, encouraging pet ownership and including pets in emergency planning. But only about half of cities say homeless cats in their community are well cared for (48%) or have Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs in place (53%) to reduce overpopulation.

A city can’t be pet-friendly unless it is working to end pet homelessness.

While many cities report successful shelters, there are opportunities to reduce pet overpopulation, increase adoptions and encourage animal welfare collaboration.


Trap-Neuter-Return helps manage our community cats humanely.
53% Yes
20% No
27% Don’t Know



Pets are comfortable at our city’s shelters and have room to play.
83% Often/Always
13% Sometimes
4% Rarely/Never



Our shelters are happy places that people want to visit to adopt a pet.
80% Often/Always
17% Sometimes
3% Rarely/Never



Public and private shelters regularly share data and information with each other.
67% Often/Always
33% Sometimes
0% Rarely/Never

The above charts at right reflect data from BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ certified cities. See all data sources here.

Bringing Zen to Shelters

Just over half of people in our national survey (58%) said they adopted their pet from a shelter in their community. Here’s what they said might make them even more likely to adopt from a shelter in the future.

45% Space to meet pets outside cages

41% Places to watch pets play together

33% Dog walks and other “trial” opportunities

37% Adoptions at events, like festivals

27% Social adoption events, like “yappy hours”

25% Classes at the shelter, like pet CPR

See a full list of data sources here.

Best Practice Spotlight

Happy dog sitting in play area outside the Cleveland Kennel.

In 2018, Cleveland, Ohio — a BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ certified city — opened a state-of-the-art new facility for its Animal Care and Control operation. It includes meet-and-greet spaces, large outdoor play areas that give dogs room to run, and kennels with individual ventilation and natural light.


See how else cities are working to make life better for people and pets, and the seven trends that are driving them. Check out the full BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ 2019 Annual Report here or download a PDF version below.

Cover of the 2019 annual report

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With the Playbook for Pet-Friendly Cities, you’re on your way to a happier, healthier place for people and pets alike.