Downtown businesses are now the guinea pigs for a nation wide project called Better Cities for Pets, which is aimed at allowing more pets inside urban places.
Mars Petcare created a pet-friendly model for cities and chosen Franklin for their pilot program. So far, 85 businesses are displaying stickers in Franklin labeling them open to pets. The aim is to bring more animals, but also new customers, to make downtown more vibrant.
"We love our furry friends, we want them here, they're a big part of our community and we are thrilled to have them," said Joni Cole, owner of Gray's on Main. "A lot of people travel with their pets. They can come to downtown Franklin and feel very very welcome here."
Cole helped start the pilot in the city. She says most businesses were receptive to the idea and the only businesses participating that aren't allowing dogs in are just following rules required by the FDA.
Mars Petcare released this statement:
"This will showcase what an ideal pet-friendly city looks like by supporting shelters, homes, businesses and parks, with the intent to create something turnkey that can be adopted by other cities in the future."
The release also said having pets in public areas adds a sense of community.
"This is research, this is about piloting and doing some research so we can come up with some best in class practices that we can take across the country," said Jam Stewart, director of communications for Mars Petcare.