Pets are really important to us here in Columbus and we have a very special connection to every veterinarian in Columbus.
With its urban neighborhoods and relatively affordable housing, a full calendar of public gatherings and events, and a growing selection of trendy things to pass the time, Ohio’s capital city is growing younger with the median age falling to under 32. A lot of those millennial-attracting amenities in Columbus—pints on the patio at local brewpubs, wine-and-cheese nights, yoga classes and outdoor concerts—are designed for people to bring their pets.
The Ohio General Assembly passed a new state law in 2018 that eased a ban on live animals from the premises of food-service businesses like restaurants and bars. The state now allows dogs where there’s outdoor dining. The old law was rarely enforced, but public health officials in Columbus began reminding business owners of the ban as pups-on-patios fundraising events became popular. That led to the change across the state.
The beneficiaries of the pet-friendly fundraisers often are more than two dozen nonprofit cat- and dog-rescue groups in Central Ohio. They ease the pressure on a county animal shelter that came under fire in 2016 for euthanizing 99 dogs during a distemper outbreak. Franklin County Animal Care and Control, which operates the shelter, takes in more than 9,000 dogs a year and in recent years has raised its return rate—through adoption, rescue or returns to owners—to about 90 percent.
Rescue groups with names like Happy Tails, Pets Without Parents, Cause for Paws and Purrfect Pets foster and adopt out thousands of cats and dogs annually. Many provide free spay or neutering services as well.
In Columbus and its suburbs, a patchwork of local laws governs the growing hobby of raising chickens in backyard coops. Some ban chickens on properties of less than an acre and others limit the number allowed to three or five. Most keep owners from turning their hobby into a business. Columbus recently lowered permit fees and inspection requirements. The city says birds can roam up to an hour at a time in fenced yards, but roosters must be kept indoors overnight so neighbors can’t hear crowing.
Ohio requires dogs older than three months to be licensed and immunized against rabies. Columbus doesn’t have a leash law, but the city requires owners to maintain “reasonable control” over their dogs when not on their own property. Columbus doesn’t allow people to let their pets run at large off their property, but the city maintains off-the-leash areas in five local parks.
The Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks system includes six dog parks that feature agility courses, separate areas for large and small dogs, and wooded areas to explore. Three parks have swimming areas for dogs, and dogs are welcome on about 20 trails.
As part of the annual HighBall Halloween, a two-day outdoor costume party along High Street in the city’s Short North Arts District, Barkers & Beggars is a trick-or-treating event for people to bring their pets. For a donation to the local Humane Society, participants can walk their dogs around the neighborhood and receive treats from local businesses.
WAG! is an annual August festival for dogs and dog owners at Prairie Oaks Metro Park in the suburb of Hilliard. The day includes agility demonstrations and performances, a Top Dog Contest, an event honoring dog heroes, informational sessions and samples galore from pet-products companies.
The Greater Columbus Convention & Visitors Bureau maintains a growing list of pet-friendly events, venues, hotels and parks in Central Ohio. The bureau offers “Dogs Welcome Here” decals to local businesses as a sign to visitors.
For more information, visit:
Experience Columbus Dog-Friendly Travel
City of Columbus