By Cody Mello-Klein | [email protected]
Alexandria might have to change its nickname from the Port City to the Pet City, after Mars Petcare recently certified the city as a “Better city for pets” earlier this month.
The certification acknowledges the number of pet care and veterinary providers, cleanliness of parks that allow animals, available pet-friendly housing, pet-friendly businesses and the presence of a “safe and welcoming animal shelter.” As part of the certification, Mars Petcare also awarded the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria a grant to fund efforts through 2023 to study and expand pet-friendly housing in the city.
For residents, the announcement likely comes as no surprise. The city has about 160,000 residents and about 80,000 pets, according to a news release from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.
There are 18 dog parks within Alexandria, in addition to a wide variety of pet stories, grooming facilities, dog-friendly outdoor dining opportunities and animal-centric dining experiences, such as Barkhaus, the city’s first dog bar, and Mount Purrnon, the city’s first cat café.
“Alexandria is a community dedicated to its animals, and this certification demonstrates what we already knew: That we are a city where pets and their people are welcome as visitors or residents,” Stella Hanly, executive director of AWLA, said in the release.