Each summer, both the City of Yankton and the City of Vermillion open up their aquatics center for one evening of dogs in the pools.

Heartland is grateful for this opportunity not only because it is a small fundraiser for the shelter, but more importantly, because it showcases each community as being pet friendly. The concept is a growing trend nationally for young adults looking to relocate.

From dog parks and doggy daycare opportunities, to groomers and pet stores, many pet owners look for perks for their four-legged family.

South Dakota is one of the few states that can boast a zero tolerance ban against breeds. Every community in our state must allow all breeds of dogs to live inside city limits. Iowa and Nebraska do not have similar laws restricting breed-ban legislation inside city ordinances.

Recently, a real estate scorecard listed Rarity Bay in Vonore, Tennessee as the best pet friendly community. The city is located in eastern Tennessee along Lake Tellico. Noted in the article is the community dog park, which hosts “yappy hour” every Friday night at 5 p.m.  

Community members in Rarity Bay privately raised $40,000 to add amenities to the dog park, including covered patios, in-ground irrigation and landscaping.

Yankton does have a dog park located along west city limits and has focused on updating trails that access the park. Water is available during warm seasons. The city has hosted, with the help of HHS, a Halloween party annually as well.

Our community also boasts two doggy daycare opportunities and a variety of boarding options.

Where do we lack? Groomers and rentals allowing pets.

When I started at HHS back in 2011, the community seemed to have enough pet groomers to fill the need. Since then, many have retired or moved. While there are a handful of grooming options within Yankton, I am constantly reminded by donors and supporters that there are not enough groomers. If you know of an entrepreneur that loves pets, a grooming salon may be a financial win.

In addition, pets are commonly unwanted amongst our rental community. And, when they are allowed, fees are often increased up to $250 per month for one pet, or $3,000 per year. Renters looking to relocate see overly strict pet policies as a community that may only tolerates pets, as opposed to welcome them.

Reasonable pet deposits are understandable and expected by pet owners. Additional monthly rent for a pet seems far-fetched. A better suggestion would be for landlords to require applications for the specific pet that could include a picture, bio, reference check and veterinary records indicating spay/neuter and vaccinations. A good renter likely owns a good pet.

Trending in cities is the idea of a pet interview where property managers look closely at the pet’s temperament around strangers or children and basic obedience before approving the applicant.

What other amenities wrap up the pet friendly list — Waste stations for pet walkers, affordable spay and neuter prices at local vets, the number of businesses that allow pets, and the number of employers that allow employees to bring pets to work.

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