Policies on pets for healthy cities: a conceptual framework

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Abstract

Drawing on the One Health concept, and integrating a dual focus on public policy and practices of caring from the Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, we outline a conceptual framework to help guide the development and assessment of local governments' policies on pets. This framework emphasizes well-being in human populations, while recognizing that these outcomes relate to the well-being of non-human animals. Five intersecting spheres of activity, each associated with local governments' jurisdiction over pets, are presented: (i) preventing threats and nuisances from pets, (ii) meeting pets' emotional and physical needs, (iii) procuring pets ethically, (iv) providing pets with veterinary services and (v) licensing and identifying pets. This conceptual framework acknowledges the tenets of previous health promotion frameworks, including overlapping and intersecting influences. At the same time, this framework proposes to advance our understanding of health promotion and, more broadly, population health by underscoring interdependence between people and pets as well as the dynamism of urbanized ecologies.

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