Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pets welcome -
bad humans NOT

The #1 question I get asked as owner of "Is Florida becoming less pet friendly?" My answer: "Yes, I think our lovely state is becoming less pet-friendly, but I don't think it's because people are annoyed with the pets. I think it's because they're annoyed with the humans the animals have to drag along when they go out and about."

Throughout the 9 years I've had online, I've gotten several emails saying things like, "This dog park is filled with dog waste!" Or "This beach no longer allows dogs." Or "This dog park has closed." The reason for these situations has hardly ever been due to lack of money. Most often, it's irresponsible humans causing bad blood among the non-pet crowd.

In Rennes, the capital of the Brittany region in France, officials have installed dog toilets and special dog walk areas - right in the downtown area. They consider this to be an important part of what they call "initiatives to improve the integration of animals into the city and outskirts." Similar projects are sprouting throughout the UK, with great names like "Good Dog Campaigns" and "Poop Scoop Schemes."

A town in Brazil has built toilets for dogs to help stop humans from allowing their pets to use the beach sand as their personal bathroom.

Supposedly, Tallahassee has started a "Responsible Pet Ownership Neighborhood Scheme." I say "supposedly" because I've not been able to find any information about it. That tells me that "scheme" may not be coming along very well.

Why does it seem other countries put these things together better than Americans? I worry that we don't place value on providing public access for people and their pets. I worry about it because, if we don't start taking such initiatives seriously, we might just become one of the least pet-friendly states. And I can tell you, that would be very bad, not only for people and their pets, but for business communities all around the sunshine state.

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