Scottsdale…Perfect for Pets? And How It Might Play Into Next Year’s Election

Photo Credit: Scottsdale Progress

You probably know Scottsdale as an amazing place to eat, drink, golf, relax, and live in general. On occasion it receives the proper accolades for items that it is not particularly known for often, but rarely does the subject of pets come up. But recently, our fair city was listed as the number 1 most pet friendly city in America in a recent study by WalletHub. We won’t argue, although it is a bit surprising.

Of course, any survey is entirely beholden to the metrics it considers most important, and for the WalletHub study those metrics included some fairly agreeable ones, such as the number of dog parks, the number of dog friendly businesses, and the number of animal shelters. According to, there are 140 pet-friendly restaurants in the city, which is unquestionably impressive.

But perhaps the most surprising piece of information is that this all may actually turn into a political talking point in next year’s Mayoral race. Yes, dogs may be taking a seat at the Scottsdale political table along with development, traffic, and short-term rentals!

After all, this survey (perhaps not coincidentally) comes on the heels of this Scottsdale Progress article talking about the Thompson Peak dog park, part of the Bond 2019 package of debt-funded municipal projects that voters approved in 2019. While some have come under fire for going over budget (some because of inflation, some due to mismanagement) and the Thompson Peak dog park project is no different, many would likely look past a $1 million overrun in costs for a lasting and cherished facility that north Scottsdalians and their dogs will enjoy for years if not decades (assuming it lives up to its hype).

Scottsdale Mayor Dave Ortega was a strong proponent of the Chapparal dog park, is keen to mention his involvement in its founding, and is fond of touting its success. He has made numerous comments about his desire for more dog spaces, his general love for dogs, and even had campaign dog bandanas made for previous campaigns. It would seem to be a case where the personal intersects with the professional.

There are quite a few divisive labels that a city or area could be labeled with, ones that would appeal to some and strongly turn off others. If yours was the best area for, for instance, gun or abortion rights, you would delight some at the cost of alienating others. But not dogs…while being relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of government, making a city friendliest for dogs will have few natural opponents. It might be the most agreeable part of Mayor Ortega’s time in office!