North Carolina

North Carolina has some of the best - and worst - cities for pets, study says

Cats and dogs and birds, oh my. Raleigh is pulling rank over rival Charlotte as a more hospitable home for residents’ furry friends, according to a report released Tuesday.

The personal finance website WalletHub compared America’s 100 largest cities in its annual list of Most Pet-Friendly Cities, ranking Raleigh, North Carolina, 15th overall behind Scottsdale, Arizona (No. 1), Atlanta, Georgia (No. 7), and Portland, Oregon (No. 10).

Charlotte eked out of the bottom 10 — it was 92nd in 2018 — to 86th, behind its North Carolina neighbors Winston-Salem (No. 55), Durham (No. 63) and Greensboro (No. 65).

Source: WalletHub

The report compared cities across 24 metrics in three categories: budget, health and wellness and outdoor pet friendliness.

Charlotte came in last place among North Carolina cities in every category but one — health and wellness. The Queen City is 37th (Raleigh is 10th) for access to things like veterinary care, trainers, dog-friendly restaurants, pet meetups and doggie daycares.

WalletHub even took into consideration the strength of animal protection laws available for this category, using data from the Animal Legal Defense Fund. North Carolina was ranked nearly in the red zone (36 out of 50 states) in 2019 for protective regulations.

According to the report, Greensboro is the most affordable city for pets in North Carolina (No. 15) — an important metric given that Americans are expected to spend $75 billion on their creatures in 2019, WalletHub said.

They also tallied up the weather, parks, walking scores, dog trails and, yes, even dog shows to consider how pet-friendly cities’ outdoor spaces are. No cities in the Tar Heel State impressed in that regard — all five fell in the bottom 50, and Charlotte was 97th.

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Hayley is a Real Time reporter at The Charlotte Observer covering breaking news and trending stories in the Carolinas. She also created the Observer’s unofficial bird beat (est. 2015) with a summer full of ornithological-related content, including a story about Barred Owls in love.