|Denver Mayor Wellington E. Webb congratulates one of Denver's four-legged residents for living in the Pet Healthiest City in the United States.|
The newly developed Purina Pet Institute's Healthy Pets 21 Consortium has named a winner in its first annual Pet Healthiest City competition: Denver, Colo. Mayor Wellington E. Webb accepted the honor on behalf of the city on August 14.
The Healthy Pets 21 Consortium, founded in August 2000, is an alliance of animal welfare, research, and veterinary medical organizations that monitors important animal health issues. Charter members such as the American Animal Hospital Association, the Delta Society, the AKC Canine Health Foundation, the Center to Study Human-Animal Relations and Environments, Ralston Purina, the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, and the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators have set a five-year pet health agenda, including action to educate pet owners on the importance of animal training, reducing dog and cat overpopulation, and strengthening the human-animal bond.
A list of 23 criteria was set to determine the pet healthiest cities, and the data were evaluated for each of the top 50 U.S. markets of statistical analysis. The consortium consulted state and local government officials, the U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographics Sourcebook, the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society, and the AVMA Web site. Factors determining the city included veterinarian-to-pet ratio, number of emergency and critical care veterinarians, quantity of heartworm incidents, air quality, presence of flea populations, anti-cruelty legislation, dog parks, and pet licensing requirements, as well as the average annual pet-related expenditures.
The first pet healthiest city, Denver, was chosen on the basis of its veterinarian-to-pet ratio, with one veterinarian for every 1,200 pets, as well as its 47 AAHA-accredited animal hospitals, its access to veterinary specialists and emergency clinics, the lowest flea population of the 50 markets considered, and high watershed quality.
In addition to the honor, Mayor Webb received a "Wagging Tail" award and a check for $10,000 to be used by the city to promote pet health.
"This study reflects what those in Denver already know—that for Denver residents, businesses, and city employees, the quality of life for our cat and dog companions is very important," Mayor Webb said.
According to the consortium, the top 10 pet healthiest cities (starting with number 1) are Denver; Minneapolis-St. Paul; Columbus, Ohio; Philadelphia; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco; Phoenix-Mesa; and Hartford, Conn.