I noticed some contradictions in the recent op-ed, “Put dignity (not dogs) among our priorities.” (Jeffrey Bullock, Nov. 17)
Bullock states Dubuque is on the right track “addressing issues of hospitality — for all people.” While I agree and commend efforts to embrace diversity, equity and inclusion, my question is: Are pet owners not included in “all people” worthy of hospitality?
One in three households has a pet, spanning people of all ages, races and income levels. Yet whenever efforts are launched to support them, suddenly resources and priorities become scarce. When pet parents are asked to leave their dog in a hot car at Eagle Point Park or struggle to find a pet-friendly patio, off-leash park or place to call home, Dubuque can seem sadly unwelcoming.
Another point made was the city must be prepared for an economic downturn. But Business Insider calls pet care a “recession-proof” industry, with owners spending $73 billion on their animals in 2018. Pets are a top reason millennials buy homes, even above kids and marriage.
Furthermore, while Bullock’s preferred goals of pre-k, higher education and brain health are extremely worthy causes, they don’t traditionally fall under the City’s purview (though there’s been some dabbling.) Recent pet efforts do, however.
Pet-friendliness has always been less about pleasing animals and more about improving quality of life for their owners. These folks spend their fair share stimulating the economy, filling jobs and making cultural contributions. Dubuque would be wise to start welcoming — rather than denigrating — them.
Larson represented Ward 3 on the Dubuque City Council from January 2018 through Aug. 23.