CREATING more dog-friendly open spaces in the City of Bayswater could encourage more people to move into the area, according to TV veterinarian Chris Brown.
Dr Brown met with local pet owners at Pet Lovers Cafe in Maylands this week as part of a larger campaign to encourage community members, councils and planning officials to keep pets in mind when developing and improving shared spaces.
Perth was ranked the fourth most pet-friendly city in Australia.
Dr Brown also met with local and State governments while in Perth to ensure the opinions and wishes of pet owners were heard.
“Most of our cities and towns have now become so non-inclusive of pets that embarking on a simple walk is more akin to a stroll through a minefield of potential fines, infringements and criticism,” he said in a statement.
Dr Brown said it would be “really positive” if the Bayswater town centre structure plan, currently being created to guide future development in the suburb, featured more outdoor spaces for dogs.
“All the research that we’ve done in Perth suggests that one in three pet owners feel they need more outdoor spaces for their dogs, making them available would be a huge plus for any development,” he said.
“It’s a really good way of encouraging people to move into these areas… two-thirds of all households own pets.”
Pet Lovers Cafe owner Natalie Goodall said local parks, for example Riverside Gardens, would benefit from the addition of fenced areas so dogs of different energy levels could be separated.
“From what we hear from our customers, we do have quite a good array of parks (in the City of Bayswater); I think more fenced parks people are looking for and maybe separated areas, so energy levels can be separated,” she said.
Ms Goodall said more community awareness could be raised to teach people about dogs and how to read them.
“Public transport (also) needs to be looked at, more people would come out with their dogs if they could use public transport,” she said.
U WA human-animal research expert Hayley Christian said research showed pet owners received a broad range of health benefits from their companion animals.