The Finnish Kennel Club honored Mäntsälä as Finland's most dog-friendly municipality during the Kuntamarkkinat event held in Helsinki on September 13. Kannus and Pello received honorable mentions. This competition aims to promote dog-friendliness in municipalities across the country.
In Finland, according to estimates by Taloustutkimus, there are approximately 800,000 dogs, with one in every five households having a canine companion.
Dogs play an integral part in the lives of many, providing opportunities for outdoor activities and hobbies.
"Local municipal services and dog-friendliness have a significant impact on the daily lives of dog owners and enthusiasts. Good services facilitate activities such as dog walking, dog-related hobbies, and contribute to the well-being of dogs. In return, dog enthusiasts can enrich municipalities by organizing events and activities that attract people from all over Finland, bringing well-being to people of all ages. Not to mention that dogs accompany Finns over two million times daily and are cherished family members," emphasized Esa Kukkonen, Chairman of the Finnish Kennel Club's Board.
The "Finland's Most Dog-Friendly Municipality" competition assessed municipalities' dog-friendliness from three perspectives: the quality of municipal dog services, the overall dog-friendliness of the municipality, and how dogs and dog enthusiasts are considered in decision-making. Municipalities responded to a total of 14 questions via an electronic form, based on which the competition jury selected the awardees.
Mäntsälä: A Haven for Dog Lovers
Mäntsälä, named the most dog-friendly municipality in Finland, has demonstrated exceptional dog-friendliness and support for dog owners in various aspects of daily life. The municipality actively collaborates with dog enthusiasts and has attracted diverse businesses serving the needs of a broader range of dog owners.
Mäntsälä provides spaces for dog enthusiasts to use, offering diverse outdoor options such as jogging trails, a dog forest, swimming areas, a dog play area, and a sled dog route. The municipality has strategically placed waste bins along these routes and provides dog waste bags for the convenience of dog owners. Currently, the municipality has plans for the construction of two training and practice halls.
Mäntsälä is home to a significant concentration of dog-related services, including a veterinary clinic operating under the auspices of the University of Helsinki, offering clinic services during daytime hours. In addition, the municipality houses two private veterinary clinics, providing almost all veterinary services. The municipality boasts a pet supply store and three training service providers. There are two grooming businesses in the area, alongside several dog massage therapists and dog boarding facilities, one of which is maintained by students of Keuda, a vocational college. The municipality also hosts a service for home inspections using dogs. All dog-related services are conveniently consolidated on the municipality's website at www.mantsala.fi/koirankanssa.
Mäntsälä houses an active dog hobby club, as well as kennel and hunting clubs, all of which have ample opportunities for operation. There are numerous dog forests, training fields, and indoor arenas within the municipality for various dog-related activities.
"Mäntsälä Municipality is genuinely delighted and proud of this fantastic recognition received in the Kennel Club competition. Our goal is to provide the best everyday life for our residents, and in Mäntsälä, it's important to us that the daily life of our furry family members goes smoothly and comfortably. Our fundamental dog services work well, and in addition, Mäntsälä offers an excellent range of services and great opportunities for various dog-related activities, both for leisure and more competitive dog sports," said Hannu Laurila, the Mayor of Mäntsälä.
Honorable Mentions: Kannus and Pello
The competition for Finland's most dog-friendly municipality received a total of 18 applications, including both growing cities and small rural municipalities. The jury faced a challenging decision due to the high-quality applications. Apart from the winner, two municipalities received honorable mentions.
Kannus, one of the municipalities receiving an honorable mention, has made dog-friendliness a significant attraction for a small rural town. The dog industry is thriving, with various training services available within the municipality. The town also features dog-related businesses, and dogs enjoy versatile outdoor facilities. The municipality is currently constructing a 1.4-hectare dog park, one of Finland's largest.
Pello, the other municipality with an honorable mention, is a small, active community that has elevated the importance of dogs as exercise partners and people's best friends. Dogs have access to diverse outdoor activities, including extensive cross-country skiing trails during winter. The municipality provides regular dog waste bins along its pedestrian pathways and offers dog waste bags. An active dog hobby club collaborates closely with the municipality. A shared hall within the municipality hosts dog-related businesses and is available to dog enthusiasts at an affordable cost. The municipality's primary education uses the hall as a sports facility during physical education classes, and the municipality regularly provides the area's kennel club with a rental agreement.
The Finnish Kennel Club's "Finland's Most Dog-Friendly Municipality" competition is part of the "Koira kansalaisena" (Dog as a Citizen) theme year, during which the Kennel Club highlights the significance of dogs in society and seeks to improve their status.
The competition's jury included Jussi Liimatainen, a member of the Kennel Club's board and leader of the "Koira kansalaisena" theme year, entrepreneur Marko Björs, urban designer Sara Ikävalko, and Helena Suni, Honorary Chairman of the Finnish Kennel Club.