Because WinterFest Smoky Style features working dog exhibitions, our pet policy is more complicated than a simple “pets allowed” or “pets not allowed.” We define our policy as “Pets Allowed, But Discouraged.” Please read the following carefully:
Why are pets allowed?
In addition to our two officially sanctioned weight pull events on Saturday, the weight pull area also has a “novice” weight pull – a very popular event last year. This event allows you and your dog to safely learn about weight pull under the close supervision of trained weight pull experts.
Last year, we asked the pets to then leave the festival grounds, but that meant the humans did not get to enjoy the rest of the festival. Thus, we have amended our policy this year to allow those pets to remain on the festival grounds throughout the festival (subject to the restrictions below).
Why are pets discouraged?
Pets are discouraged from the Festival Grounds for several reasons.
The Festival Grounds are crowded, loud and have lots of distractions. Most pets simply don’t enjoy those situations.
For our exhibitors, the working dogs need to be able to demonstrate their skills without being distracted by other animals on the Festival Grounds. Anyone with an animal can not interfere with nor distract a working dog. During demonstrations by the mushers or law enforcement k-9’s, you will have to stay out of the line of sight (and smell) of the working dogs and that will naturally restrict your ability to see and hear the presentations. Without your pet, you can be close to those demonstrations.
Anyone with an animal also can not approach the dogs in the musher village. Those working dogs consider their dog truck to be their home and do not want strange dogs approaching.
Thus, the simple answer is that we discourage pets because you will be able to enjoy the festival more fully without a pet.
Simply put, if your dog is participating in the novice weight pull, you may bring your dog and keep him/her with you throughout the day, but you also recognize that you will need to be extremely respectful of the working dogs and not approach or distract them.
If your dog is not participating in the novice weight pull, you will enjoy the festival much more if you leave him/her at home.
Any animal on the festival grounds (including all working dogs in exhibitions) must be under full and complete control at all times. Specifically, this means on a fixed leash (no flexi leashes) of no greater than 6 feet (except law enforcement dogs on long search leads), on a cable picket line in a secured area (e.g., the sled dog area), secured in a crate, or secured in a vehicle.
Owners are responsible for the immediate clean up and disposal of animal waste.
Owners ensure that they do not approach other dogs or areas where dogs are working.
If asked by an exhibitor or festival volunteer to move to a different location, the owner will immediately comply.
This policy is for the safety and security of the working dogs and for your pets. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.
If you have any question about whether or not your dog is approved to be on the Festival Grounds, please contact Festival leaders (see contact page).