If you we’re planning to bring your dog to Seattle Hempfest this weekend, don’t.
The Seattle Animal Shelter put out a press release yesterday reminding dog owners that pets are not allowed at Seattle Hempfest.
The only pets allowed at Seattle Hempfest are service animals (real service animals, not the ones with fake credentials).
Normally I’d prefer that outdoor festivals are dog friendly, but here are some reasons why I agree
that dogs should be banned from Seattle Hempfest:
Huge Crowds – The event is always packed. Not just crowded. Packed. About 500,000 people are expected, and they will barely have room to maneuver. Dogs would make the problem worse, especially with tens of thousands of stoned people stumbling around.
And according to the festival’s website, there is no safe place to leave or secure your pet at the event.
Contact Highs – Lots of people will be smoking lots of pot and producing lots of smoke, and it doesn’t take much of it to get your dog high. According to a previous post on my blog, dogs can show symptoms of marijuana toxicity within a few minutes of inhaling smoke or a couple hours after ingesting marijuana.
They may experience impaired coordination, excessive urination and even loss of control of urination (incontinence), drooling, vomiting, lethargy, depression, dilated pupils, and light and sound sensitivity and in severe cases they may go into seizures or even a coma.
While some people may enjoy the effects of THC, the psychogenic component of marijuana, pets don’t understand it and its effects can be a confusing and stressful experience.
Stray Edibles – One of the largest growth areas in pot consumption is edibles. Brownies, cookies, candy, cake, chocolate, beef jerky, peanut butter and lots of other foods are now infused with pot/cannabis oil, and they are more potent than pot you smoke.
Over the course of 3 days, lots of these edibles will end up on the ground, and most dogs would scarf them right up. You also don’t want people in altered states sneaking a bite of an edible to your dog because they want to see it get high.
It’s gonna be HOT – Temperatures are expected to be 75-80 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. Hot weather and huge crowds are a bad combination for dogs, especially when water stations for pets won’t be available.
My biggest concern is that people with dogs who are turned away from Hempfest, will leave their dogs in their cars.
“It’s not worth the risk,” said Seattle Animal Shelter Director Don Jordon. “Cars in direct sunlight can reach fatal temperatures within just a few minutes, and on hot days even dogs left in the shade with the windows cracked are at risk of brain damage or death.”
Jordan also reminds pet owners that even on a 70-degree day, cars left in the sun can turn into lethal ovens, and, with the movement of the sun, cars originally left in the shade can soon be in direct sunlight.
Additionally, a new Washington law that went into effect last month makes it a violation just to leave an animal unattended in a vehicle or enclosed space, if the animal could be harmed or killed by exposure to excessive heat or cold, lack of ventilation or lack of water. Penalties under the new law are in addition to potential animal cruelty charges.
Jordan said that humane law enforcement officers responding to calls about animals left in hot cars will utilize all means necessary to access vehicles to remove the animals.
If you are bringing your service animal to Hempfest, make sure that it is not exposed to pot smoke or edibles and be sure that it has access to plenty of water. Since pet water stations won’t be available and the lines for bottled water will be long, you should bring your own water for your service animal.
If you see an animal that may be in need of assistance, or if you have questions, contact the Seattle Animal Shelter at (206) 386-7387 (PETS).