Photo by Delphine Beausoleil on Unsplash

Last year, Los Angeles police charged five people in connection with the shooting of Lady Gaga's dog walker and the kidnapping of her beloved French bulldogs, while out and about in L.A.

"This was a brazen street crime that left a man seriously wounded," LA County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. "We have alleged very serious charges in this case and have faith that justice will be appropriately served as this case unfolds in court."

Thankfully, the dogs were eventually returned. But the dog walker Ryan Fischer took a bullet trying to save his lady boss's pups.

Walking your dog can be a walk in the park if you happen to live in certain cities. In other cities, however, it can be a chore, an obstacle course, a workout, or downright dangerous.

To mark National Walk Your Dog Month, LawnStarter ranked 2022’s Best Cities to Walk Your Dog.

LawnStarter compared over 170 of the biggest U.S. cities on walkability, pup-friendly trail access, dog walking services, and safety.

Photo by Nathan Jennings on Unsplash

2022’s Best Cities to Walk Your Dog

Rank City

1 Portland, OR

2 San Francisco, CA

3 Oakland, CA

4 Las Vegas, NV

5 Boise, ID

6 Los Angeles, CA

7 New York, NY

8 Washington, DC

9 Colorado Springs, CO

10 Jersey City, NJ

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

2022’s Worst Cities to Walk Your Dog

Rank City

165 Tulsa, OK

166 Laredo, TX

167 Fayetteville, NC

168 Macon, GA

169 Montgomery, AL

170 Memphis, TN

171 Garland, TX

172 Port St. Lucie, FL

173 Wichita, KS

174 Jackson, MS

The Best and the Worst:

Best in Show: Seven of the top 10 cities are located in the West. Portland, Oregon, leads the pack, followed by other big Western cities like San Francisco (No. 2), Las Vegas, (No. 4), and Los Angeles (No. 6).
Offering easy access to dog parks, dog-friendly trails, and businesses, these metro hubs are designed for both two- and four-legged community members to get around on foot.

Back of the Pack: Nearly all of the cities at the bottom of our ranking are in the South. Jackson, Mississippi, finished last, while cities like Port St. Lucie, Florida (No. 172), Memphis, Tennessee (No. 170), and Montgomery, Alabama (No. 169), managed to pull ahead slightly.

These warmer cities simply aren’t built with our furry friends in mind — they’re neither the most walkable nor the most accessible to dogs. Safety First: Keeping both pup and self safe should always be a dog walker’s top priority. That’s easier to do in certain cities than in others.

You and Spot are likely to feel most at ease in cities like Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Port St. Lucie, Florida; and Frisco, Texas, which claimed the first three spots in Safety.

But take precautions if you live in such cities as Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Tucson, Arizona, which landed at the bottom of this category.

And be especially vigilant if you own a high-value breed, as we learned in 2021, when Lady Gaga’s dog walker was shot and her French bulldogs kidnapped. Leave It to the Pros: No time or energy to walk your dog? No problem if you live in cities where dog walking services are a dime a dozen.

Cities like Springfield, Missouri, and Clarksville, Tennessee, hit the sweet spot between abundant dog walkers and affordability. These cities came in at Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, in Services.

Florida cities, such as Orlando, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale (our No. 2 Best City for Dog Lovers), also scored high in the Services category. They offer the best access to pros — but at steeper prices.

The full ranking and analysis can be found here.

Our pets fulfill an astonishingly wide array of roles in our everyday lives, from companion to protector, and from best friend to child. They nurture our children and comfort us when we are sad. They know what’s best for us—sometimes we want to be alone even when it’s not good for us, but they won’t have it.

For members of the LGBT community, which has too often been deprived of family and community, our pets are often an even more important part of our coping with the world. We wouldn’t know what to do without them. This month’s edition is a celebration of that special relationship—our staff and our community shares insight into our lives with our pets. We weren’t able to print every photo submitted so please check online for even more!

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