Animal Safety & Handling Standards

Goal: We are dedicated to the compassionate and safe handling of every pet involved in helping make our Events successful. Animals are voiceless participants for the enjoyment, exhibition, and education of pet professionals at our events- this program will ensure that every animal has a steward to ensure their handling and care meets the gold standards set forth by the PPGSA Standards of Care, Safety, and Sanitation.

Scope: This includes animals being utilized for demonstration purposes in our vendor/partner booths, in all seminar education or any demonstration sessions, and in the grooming contest areas such as the contest arena, contestant spa, and animal holding areas. Additionally, all show grounds including the trade show, education areas, host hotel, and exercise areas fall under the scope of the Animal Safety and Handling Standards.

Implementation: The WPA Animal Safety and Handling Standards will be implemented at every event which utilizes the demonstration or participation of live animals. Each event will have a designated event Steward (or group of event Stewards which may include Judges, Speakers, Show Staff) who will be responsible for upholding the PPGSA Standards and serving as an advocate for the animals participating in any event.

Steward Qualifications: Minimum of 5 years working as a pet professional, be recognized as having invested in continuing education with NDGAA, IPG, ISCCC, Fear Free or AKC Safety Programs, or relevant education such as Barkleigh sponsored certifications, be familiar with and sign a pledge to uphold the PPGSA Standards at all times.

Steward Responsibilities: Any Animal Safety and Handling Stewards shall enforce the PPGSA Standards of Care, Safety, and Sanitation. Stewards shall be present in areas where there are animals being exhibited, prepared, housed, and used for education or demonstration purposes to ensure that all animals are being handled and cared for with compassion and safety. Stewards are tasked with interfering with, interrupting, reporting to show officials, and redirecting any unsafe or non-compassionate acts of handling or care which may result in injury or unnecessary discomfort in the pet.

Show Official Responsibilities: Designate Animal Safety and Handling Stewards for the duration of the event- with at least one dedicated Steward daily. All Judges, Speakers, and Show Staff are automatically designated as Stewards if they meet the minimum Steward qualifications. Show officials will obtain a final report of any violations, actions taken, or issues which may arise during the course of the show and share with WPA with the intent that WPA will warehouse a list of infractions.

Violations: Stewards will offer a verbal warning to any person violating Animal Safety and Handling Standards. Extreme violations such as hitting, striking, kicking, slapping either with body contact or an object may be cause for immediate and complete disqualification as well as a ban from future competition. The collection of two such events will warrant disqualification from all future show events.