ATLANTA, GA — Dog owners know their four-legged friends need space — a lot of it.
Particularly space where they can frolick off leash. Run. Bark. Wrestle. Chase. You know, dog things.
But have you ever stopped to ponder just how dog-friendly Atlanta is for Fido?
Thankfully, the good folks over at The Trust for Public Land took the time to dig in to the data to find the answer. And if you thought we stacked up well compared to other cities in America, well, yes and no.
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Among the 100 biggest cities in the United States, Atlanta comes in right about the middle of the pack for dog parks, the nonprofit said – landing at No. 52.
That’s a lot of spots from first-place Boise, Idaho — with its whopping 15 dog parks in a city of about 200,000 people. But Atlanta fared better than many, including five cities that have no dog parks at all.
Here are the numbers for Atlanta:
Population: 464,043Dog parks: 4Dog parks per 100,000 residents: 0.9
Every city in the top quarter of the rankings had at least 1.8 dog parks per 100,000 residents. While impressive, no city can hold a candle to Boise, where those 15 parks amount to 6.7 off-leash dog areas per 100,000 residents.
The next closest was Portland, Oregon, with 5.2 dog parks per 100,000 residents. Henderson, Nevada, ranked third in the country, while Norfolk, Virginia, and Las Vegas rounded out the top five.
While comparing ourselves with those cities might be discouraging, we take solace in the fact we don’t live in the cities listed below, which tied for dead last. Not one has a single dog park.
Garland, Texas Lubbock, Texas Santa Ana, California Newark, New Jersey Hialeah, Florida
Each year, the organization’s Center for City Park Excellence gathers data on the nation’s largest city park systems.
"This year, we decided to take a closer look at the dog parks data because they are becoming so popular," Charlie McCabe, the center’s director, said in a statement. "That led to these rankings of cities with the most dog parks relative to population."
Dog parks, meaning off-leash dog areas, were among the fastest growing park amenities in the combined parks systems of the 100 largest cities, The Trust for Public Land said. The group, which aims to create parks and protect land to foster healthy and livable communities, released its findings in March.
There were 774 dedicated dog parks in the 100 largest cities last year. That’s 38 more than there were in 2016, and 40 percent more than there were in 2009, the group noted.
The survey found that New York had the most number of dog parks with 140 off-leash dog areas. New York ranked just 28th in the country though because that amounts to 1.6 dog parks per 100,000 residents.
The rankings are solely based on the number of dog parks for every 100,000 residents. Factors such as park quality and popularity weren’t contributing factors.
The most successful dog parks, the group noted, are built and maintained by people working together. Specifically, the group said strong collaboration is needed between the public parks agency, the community and local dog advocates who have a strong ownership stake in the park.
"People have many questions about ‘the right way’ to build a dog park and want to bring together the correct combination of people and resources," McCabe said. "We’re providing this information to serve as a guide."
Photo via Shutterstock