Each year DOG FANCY asks readers to nominate an American city that represents the very best in dog-friendly accommodations. The editors then carefully research each city and name the winner based on the presence of dog-centered activities, dog-friendly businesses, dog parks, veterinarian specialists, pro-dog legislation, rescue programs and other canine criteria.
When stacked against the country’s top nominees for 2014, Austin stood out above the best. Austin’s progressive programs on adoption and rescue played a large part in this year’s selection.
A shining example of Austin’s dedication to helping animals, check out this beautiful video from Austin Pets Alive!, featuring an incredible dog named George with music and intro by Elizabeth Wills.
“Thanks to innovative programs and dedicated animal lovers in both public and private organizations, the Austin community saves the lives of more than 90 percent of the animals who enter shelters, making Austin the largest metropolitan city to sustain a No-Kill goal,” says Ernie Slone, editor of DOG FANCY magazine.
One important measure of whether a city is dog-friendly is access to play and exercise areas, Slone notes. With 12 off-leash dog parks and an abundance of scenic, pet-friendly trekking trails, many with refreshing swimming spots, Austin delivers a Texas-sized helping of outdoor playgrounds for dogs and their owners.
“As America’s first large No-Kill city, it’s an honor to receive this recognition from Dog Fancy awarding Austin the title of being the best city for dogs and people who love them,” says Mike Martinez, Austin City Council member. “Years of dedication and hard work on behalf of the Austin Animal Center, Austin Pets Alive, and so many other valuable partner organizations and volunteers have helped us achieve our animal-welfare goals and fostered a pet-friendly environment citywide.”
Along with the winning city, Dog Fancy also named regional winners. The following cities finished a tight second to Austin:
- Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
- Eureka Springs, Arkansas
- Charleston, South Carolina
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
Slone will present the city a check for $5,000 at the Sept. 13, 2014, Strut Your Mutt dog fundraiser presented by Best Friends Animal Society, one of Austin’s biggest dog events of the year. The city will donate the winning prize money to their designated local dog charity, Austin Pets Alive!, one of the country’s most accomplished No-Kill adoption centers.
Along with a deep dedication to helping at-risk dogs find loving homes, Dog Fancy found that life in Austin isn’t complete without the company of a canine companion when visiting the many dog-friendly establishments that line the city streets.
“In the dog-loving haven of Austin, pooches fill the patios of hundreds of pet-friendly businesses and eateries,” adds Slone. “From hip music festivals to scenic museums, Austin offers a wide variety of dog-welcoming outdoor activities. We at Dog Fancy are inspired by Austin’s intent to improve the lives of dogs and hope the award serves as an inspiration to our readers, as well as to other cities.”
The DogTown USA 2014 winning city of Austin and each regional winning city will be profiled in the September 2014 issue of Dog Fancy, available on newsstands June 24, 2014.