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Mars Petcare Rolls Out Pet-Friendly Cities Certification

It’s an extension of the Better Cities for Pets program.

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FRANKLIN, TN — Mars Petcare has announced the “Better City for Pets” certification.

The national certification is an extension of the Mars Petcare Better Cities for Pets program, which works with local government, businesses and non-profits “to help communities make our four-legged friends welcome, so everyone can enjoy the benefits of a life with cats and dogs,” according to a press release from Mars Petcare.

The certification will celebrate cities that recognize the importance of pets and have made progress toward becoming more pet-friendly.

“Cities across the country are making strides towards becoming more pet friendly, but there’s more work to be done,” said Mark Johnson, president of Mars Petcare North America. “Through this certification, we hope to inspire more cities to take real action that leads to a better quality of life for people and pets in their communities.”

Launched in 2017, the Mars Petcare Better Cities for Pets program “is rooted in insights and data that pets make individuals and communities better – from helping people live healthier lives to encouraging social connections,” according to the release.

Since its inaugural year, the program has impacted more than 100 cities, providing $100,000 in grants and $1 million in pet food donations, as well as resources and city-specific guidance to help more communities become pet-friendly.

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The introduction of the Mars Petcare “Better City for Pets” certification coincided with the 87th U.S. Conference of Mayors Winter Meeting, which took place Jan. 23-25 in Washington, DC. Mars Petcare met with key government officials to introduce this opportunity for their cities to be nationally recognized as pet-friendly.

The certification, created in partnership with urban-planning organization Nashville Civic Design Center, evaluates cities based on 12 traits of pet-friendly cities across four categories: businesses, parks, shelters and homes.

City officials may apply for the certification online at BetterCitiesforPets.com. Cities that meet the criteria will receive the certification, along with a toolkit of assets and resources that can be used to spread the news to their community. In addition, certified cities will be recognized on the Better Cities for Pets website so that community members can easily identify pet-friendly locations to live and visit.

In 2018, the Mars Petcare Better Cities for Pets program and USCM partnered to give $100,000 in grants. As grant recipients, the cities of Richmond and Hallandale Beach were able to quickly make an impact through therapy, training and educational programs.

To build on the success of the 2018 grant program and increase the number of pet-friendly cities in America, Mars Petcare and USCM have issued a call for 2019 grant entries. Cities seeking grants must demonstrate a commitment to existing and future pet-friendly community efforts.

Applications will be submitted to an independent panel of judges who will determine which cities will be awarded grants. All cities applying for the certification will also be prompted to apply for a grant, if they choose to do so, at the completion of their application. Grant applications are due March 8 and the grant recipients will be announced this summer during USCM’s 87th Annual Meeting starting June 28.

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To learn more about the 2019 grant applications visit: www.usmayors.org/pets.

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