In today’s political climate, it’s easy to get the feeling that your vote doesn’t matter – but when it comes to influencing whether places are pet friendly, I can assure you that every vote counts! Right now the city of Georgetown, Texas – just up the road from Austin (which is perhaps the most pet friendly city in the country) – is dealing with a new ordinance banning pets at the outdoor seating areas of local restaurants. Area citizens have started a petition, and hopefully they’ll be successful in getting this law reversed, but until then they’re missing opportunities to spend time with their dogs.
Things are even worse in Quebec, where the mayors of Quebec City and Montreal have been pushing for breed specific laws banning pit bulls from their cities. The mayor of Quebec City has since retreated from his hard-line stance, but a province-wide ban on pit bulls, similar to the one in effect in Ontario, is still being considered.
Clearly, supporting candidates for local, state, and provincial governments whose values reflect your own, and communicating your opinions to your representatives are important part of the process – but what about those of us who don’t live (or vote) in Quebec, or Georgetown, or other places that could use an upgrade in their pet friendly attitude? We also have leverage, because we can vote with our dollars!
Businesses and tourist destinations are there to make money, and the pet travel community has a lot to spend! For years we’ve made it our policy to patronize pet friendly businesses, and we always let management know that we’ve chosen them over their competitors because they welcome our furry family members. We’ve taken a similar stance in our travel itineraries, avoiding cities like Denver, Colorado and the province of Ontario, where discriminatory breed bans are enforced.
Why do we do this? Because when we vote with our dollars, the establishments that receive our votes grow and prosper. The proprietors of those businesses, in turn, communicate to their government officials that the pet friendly community is contributing to their economy, and this encourages more polices that welcome pets.
Related topic: Nine Ways Cities Can Be More Pet Friendly
Longer term, our goal at GoPetFriendly.com is to create a groundswell of pet friendliness, so that people who travel with their pets are recognized as an influential market force … which persuades more businesses and cities to “GoPetFriendly” … which makes it easier for people to travel with their pets. We see it like this:
So the next time you have a choice, vote pet friendly! Your participation really does matter!