PAWS: Being a pet owner in St. Pete only getting better

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Being a pet owner in St. Petersburg might be getting a lot easier.

Applications for the Mayor’s Pet-Friendly Business certification are now available online. The certification is part of St. Pete PAWS, the city’s initiative of becoming more pet-friendly. 

It’s an important goal of Mayor Rick Kriseman’s. 

“When it comes to pets, a lot of people, whether it’s dogs, cats, whatever their pet is, become like family to them. And so, being able to go to business with their family, in this case, their pet, or find an apartment, or just be able to have a park they can go and play in is really important,” said Mayor Kriseman.

Businesses must have a pet handling training session with staff within 60-90 days of applying to be considered pet-friendly by the city.

Other requirements include displaying pet-friendly guidelines, providing hydration and relief areas and promoting sustainability. 

The application also asks businesses to “strive to be breed and size restriction-free, as environment and space will allow.”

For owner of “the bier boutique,” Heather Brookey, the decision to apply for the certification was an easy one.

“We’re dog friendly because we have dogs, we rescue dogs, we love dogs. So that’s a no-brainer. The patio was here when we took over the space,” she said.

The bier boutique has only been open for around three weeks, but Brookey and her husband say dealing with customers’ four-legged friends has been a pleasure.

“All of our patrons have been awesome and they all have awesome dogs. So no issues whatsoever.”
Brookey says they enjoy not only meeting the dogs, but other dog owners as well.

“We tell them now when they leave the house when they go on walks that their dogs are just going to automatically pull them to the bier boutique,” she joked.

Click here for the city’s pet-friendly business map

The initiative doesn’t just end at bars and restaurants. Apartment and housing complexes are urged to become more pet-friendly as well.

“As part of our pet-friendly program, we are encouraging apartment buildings, owners, property managers to look at their rules and regulations as it relates to pets and consider expanding those, if they don’t currently, to allow people to bring a pet and to have a pet on their property. And if they limit the size, to maybe consider a bigger size,” Mayor Kriseman said.

Click here for a list of upcoming pet-friendly events in St. Pete

Mayor Kriseman knows many consider pets part of their family. He thinks the city should start talking about quality of life to not just those on two legs, but on four, as well.

“Get involved. Let’s truly make St. Pete a city of opportunity for everyone who comes to work, live and play here, including our pets,” he said.

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