Another “dog-friendliest” list falls flat
About four months ago, I gave Petside.com a hard time for choosing Dallas as the second-most dog friendly city in America — this just after the Big D bestowed the key to the city on Michael Vick.
My point — and I did have one — was that a city’s dog friendliness is, or should be, based on more than mathematical formulas that tally how many groomers, pet boutiques, veterinarians, etc., it has per capita.
Now, along comes Dog Fancy magazine with its picks — based on similar criteria — for the five dog-friendliest cities in 2011.
Among them: Santa Cruz, Calif., which for 33 years has banned dogs from part of its downtown area.
True, the ban — finally — has been lifted, conditionally, effective this week. And true, there are other very dog-friendly parts of Santa Cruz, including some beaches, and plenty of fine services as well. But a city that has banned dogs from its main drag for three decades being chosen as among the dog-friendliest in the nation?
Were I one of the other cities vying for the honor, I’d have a bone to pick with that.
The world’s most widely read dog magazine, as Dog Fancy calls itself, named Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the winner of the 2011 DogTown USA competition, saluting it as America’s most dog-friendly city.
While we couldn’t agree more with Dog Fancy’s top choice last year — Provincetown, Mass., as we showed you during our travels, is indeed highly dog friendly — we have some trouble with this year’s selections.
The other three cities in the top five were Bend, Oregon; Knoxville, Tenn.; and Doylestown, Pa., where, earlier this month, a dog was found to have been given poisoned hot dogs and shot 32 times — allegedly by his owner, the golf course superintendent — while tied to fence of the Doylestown Country Club.
The acts of one deranged person shouldn’t blow a city’s chance at being proclaimed “dog-friendliest,” but we do think the number of animal cruelty cases that surface in a city should be a small part of any formula assessing dog friendliness.
The criteria used to select winners in the Dog Fancy contest — sponsored by Natural Balance Pet Foods and Wahl Clipper – include the amount of dog-friendly open spaces and dog parks, veterinarians, pet supply stores and other services, events celebrating dogs and their owners, and municipal laws that support and protect pets.
“Journalist Barbara Walters has saluted Coeur d’Alene as one of her favorite cities, calling it a little slice of heaven,” Dog Fancy Editor Ernie Slone said in announcing the results — though, Barbara being human, what the heck that has to do with anything I don’t know.
“What we discovered is that whether a dog likes a place to run and hike, loves to mingle downtown, or needs a new home, dogs and their owners have it made in Coeur d’Alene, a little slice of dog heaven.”
Slone traveled to Coeur d’Alene to present $5,000 to the Kootenai County Dog Park Association. Additionally, Natural Balance Pet Foods will donate 1,000 pet food meals to Kootenai Humane Society on behalf of Coeur d’Alene, and 500 pet food meals to each of the regional winners.
Given all that, I don’t want to totally disrespect these lists and the organizations that put them together, but I will suggest that they are not as much about truth or reality as they are about politics, public relations and sales.
Posted by jwoestendiek August 24th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bend, cities, coeur dalene, contest, dallas, dog fancy, dog fancy magazine, dog friendliest, dog friendly, doylestown, formula, idaho, key to the city, knoxville, kootenai county dog park, list, lists, michael vick, natural balance, petside, picks, politics, provincetown, public relations, reality, sales, santa cruz, wahl clippers