BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™: Creating Pet-Friendly Communities Across the Country

Mars Petcare, US Conference of Mayors continue partnership, announce grant program and playbook for implementing new pet-friendly programs at USCM 86th Winter Meeting

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Pets are now part of more than 84 million U.S. households, offering companionship, social connections and even improved health. Yet there are still barriers to pet ownership across the country. Today at the USCM Winter Meeting, Mars Petcare and the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) announced a three-year initiative that will provide a comprehensive approach to leadership, innovation, education and awareness of pet-friendly initiatives.

To help enable cities to adopt more pet-friendly practices, Mars Petcare unveiled the “Playbook for Pet-Friendly Cities” at the meeting, a model that can help cities make the benefits of pets accessible to more people. Mars Petcare and USCM also announced an upcoming grant program that aims to help break down barriers to making communities pet-friendly. Mars Petcare and USCM will provide grants to cities looking to advance the goal of creating welcoming places for people and pets to live, work, and play together.

Playbook Offers Tools, Best Practices

The playbook highlights the 12 Traits of Pet-Friendly Cities model, including best practices, recommendations and resources focused on the four pillars of homes, parks, businesses and shelters, as well as an online assessment tool to help cities take a measure of their current pet-friendliness.

“With pets becoming integral parts of more U.S. families, it’s time that cities take action in welcoming pets into more places,” said Jam Stewart, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Mars Petcare. “Pets make our lives happier and healthier, and their presence alone is proven to make communities safer. By offering this playbook as a resource, we hope cities will learn from the work we’ve already done to share best practices and recommendations on creating more communities that welcomes them.”

This is the second year of the partnership between Mars Petcare and USCM. To help inform the playbook, these partners issued a survey to more than 500 U.S. Mayors in 2017 to better understand the state of pet-friendly cities. The insights from this survey were key to informing the tools outlined in the playbook to address perceptions and needs across the country.

Grants Encourage Cities to Expand Efforts for Pets 

Applications for the grant program will be made available in Spring 2018 for USCM member mayors, and cities seeking grants must demonstrate a commitment to continuing and expanding their pet-friendly community efforts. Applications will be submitted to an independent panel of judges who will determine which cities will be awarded grants, with winners announced at the 2018 USCM Summer Meeting in Boston.

“We’re proud to support Mars Petcare in this important endeavor to offer resources to cities around the country on pet-friendly initiatives,” said Tom Cochran, CEO & Executive Director. “Our research shows a clear awareness of the benefits pets bring to cities, with 82 percent of mayors agreeing that pet-friendly amenities have an overall positive economic impact on their communities. This is why we’re setting out to make it easier for even more cities to implement these policies.”

In 2017, Mars Petcare launched a pilot program in its U.S. headquarters community of Middle Tennessee, rolling out initiatives like a pet-friendly business program, installing responsible pet ownership signage throughout the greater Nashville area, and increasing pet amenities in downtown Nashville. This pilot provided many of the best practices and resources included in the playbook launched today.

“We’ve come a long way in testing and learning which pet-friendly policies truly make an impact on communities,” said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. “I’m proud to have been involved in the pilot program for what we hope is a national movement to create BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™, and as a pet owner myself, I’m already seeing firsthand the positive impact that these policies have had in my hometown.”
To join the movement, get the playbook and learn how to implement the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program, please visit 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, created to help communities become more pet-friendly by bringing the voice of pets and their owners to places of influence and advocating for fewer pets in shelters, more pet-friendly places, and happier, healthier lives for both people and pets. 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™, visit 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 The United States Conference of Mayors
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.

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