For the fourth year in a row, in November 2021, Mars Petcare’s BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program awarded grants to cities to help them become more pet friendly.
The grants support a key finding of Mars Petcare’s “Keeping People and Pets Together” report: that 90% of pet parents want to continue to have increased time with their pets as the pandemic subsides.1 Given the challenges many pet parents are currently facing, programs that support ending pet homelessness and keeping people and pets together were favored in the 2021 grant judging.
“This year, the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS grant program focused on keeping people and their pets together, knowing the unprecedented challenges facing families throughout the pandemic,” said Jam Stewart, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Mars Petcare North America. “Our new research shows that the financial and health stressors affecting many people may force some pet parents to make the difficult decision to surrender their pets. As part of our global ambition to end pet homelessness, it’s our goal to keep as many people together with their pets as possible, which this year’s grant recipients are actively helping to address.”
The cities selected for 2021 grants proposed initiatives that aim to transform their communities to better support people and pets and their ability to stay together. They include:
Oakland, California — establishing a training program to help reduce behavior-related surrenders, with training at the city shelter and in neighborhood parks to help connect with and support community members experiencing challenges with their dogs.
Las Vegas, Nevada – expanding a program that assists people experiencing homelessness, to allow them to bring pets with to the shelter, provide seasonal support like blankets for pets, and assist clients with pet deposits and fees when housing is secured.
Key West, Florida – creating a Pet Safety Net program to help people find and keep pet-friendly rental homes. The funding will support pet deposits, licensing and other fees, as well as an online rental resource hub for property owners and renters.
Dallas, Texas – enhancing an under-utilized patio space at Dallas Animal Services to provide a multi-functional outdoor home for community assistance, pop-up adoption events, vaccination clinics and pet food distribution, as well as free wi-fi for low-income neighbors.
Sheboygan, Wisconsin – helping pets and pet parents spend meaningful time together in the community by installing signage, waste stations and water fountains in public spaces and creating an online hub about local shelters, parks and pet-friendly businesses.
Alexandria, Virginia – creating a Pet-Friendly Housing Program and Summit to understand local housing difficulties and build a coalition of community partners to develop pet-friendly legislation and community engagement as they work to address the issues.
To view the full Mars Petcare “Keeping Pets and People Together” Report, visit BetterCitiesforPets.com/2021report. To learn more about the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS grant program, visit BetterCitiesForPets.com/grants.
* KRC Research conducted online surveys of 1,003 U.S. pet parents from July 28 to August 8, 2021.