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No pets allowed: PAF cracking down

August 6, 2014

BY MARY GARRISON
editor@dailytimesleader.com

Prairie Arts Festival (PAF) attendees should think twice about bringing their pets to this year’s festival.
Event organizers are working to make certain festival-goers and participants adhere to a long standing, but often abused, PAF regulation that prohibits all pets in the downtown area during the festival.
Lisa Klutts, West Point Clay County Growth Alliance director and chief event coordinator, said this year, volunteers would be placing signs at all the major festival entrances — about six total — advising residents to leave their pets at home.
The regulation includes all animals with the exception of service animals such as “seeing-eye” dogs.
“It’s not that we don’t like dogs or anything like that,” Klutts said. “I love dogs. But there are just too many things that can go wrong. … In the past, we’ve had people bring their animals before, and when someone says something to them about it, the response is usually something like, ‘Well where are the signs? I don’t see any.’ So this year, we’re not leaving any room for doubt.”
Klutts said she supported the regulation for a number of reasons. While many pet owners monitor their animal’s behavior and demeanor carefully, she said there are always others who do not.
“Not everyone cleans up after their dogs like they should,” Klutts said. “Volunteers have enough to worry about keeping up with the trash and things like that without adding to the list. … It could become a property issue, too. We’re going to have a lot of vendors here. Some may have items propped up against their booth, and if you’ve got someone walking their dog and they stop to talk to someone or they get distracted, what happens when he lifts his leg to someone’s artwork? Or what happens if the leash gets caught up around someone’s table leg? We don’t want that.”

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