By Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – The City of Miami received official recognition and certification as a BETTER CITY FOR PETS™ from Mars Petcare on July 9th, demonstrating the commitment to creating a pet-friendly environment.
According to the American Pet Product Association (APPA), 47 percent of Americans own a dog, and 37 percent own a cat. In addition 67 percent of dog owners say their dog relieves stress.
Miami has taken conscious steps in recent years to ensure its standing as a pet-friendly city. Currently, pet owners are welcome to take their social, friendly, non-aggressive dogs to most City parks, provided they are on a leash. Designated dog park areas are also available at Kennedy Park, Blanche Park and Legion Park.
“Initiatives like BETTER CITY FOR PETS refine our comprehensive approach to improving quality of life for all,” said Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. “This recognition is a testament to our commitment to continuing to foster a pet-friendly community that prioritizes the emotional and physical benefits of pet companionship.”
Additionally, the City recently completed an assessment of the Greater Downtown area – including Wynwood, Brickell, Overtown and Edgewater – gathering information on policies, services, and facilities related to pets.
The purpose of the assessment was to determine how Pet-Friendly the City/Downtown area is towards pets and their owners and to identify areas where the City can further improve pet-friendliness.
In January, Mars Petcare launched the BETTER CITY FOR PETS™ certification, an extension of the BETTER CITIES FOR PETS™ program which works with local governments, businesses and non-profits to help communities make four-legged friends welcome.
The City of Miami Beach is also pet-friendly, dogs are allowed in parks, on the boardwalk and along Ocean Drive, but not allowed on the beach at any time. This rule does not seem to be enforced though, as in the evenings everywhere one looks there are dogs.
Resident Michael Smith shares, “I see dogs urinating and even [defecating] on the beach, it’s so disgusting and I’m baffled how pet owners think it is okay. I understand people love their dogs but it is a law for a reason.”
Regardless of the law for the actual beach, Grisette Roque, Executive Director of Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority (MBVCA) shares, “Miami Beach is one of the world’s most pet-friendly cities.[…] Our significant number of pet-friendly perks and programs make Miami Beach like no other place in the world for both visitors and their pets.”
Traveling with pets is on the rise across the country. Research conducted by TripAdvisor found that 53 percent of respondents travel with their pets and 52 percent stated they would only stay at pet-friendly properties.
For residents and visitors, Miami Beach offers a number of parks that are pet friendly. Bark Beach at North Shore Open Space Park is popular, and Haulover Beach Park features dog parks with drinking fountains for both dogs and their companions, as well as waste bag dispensers and waste containers.