Important news for 2003: NO DOGS AT BURNING MAN
Dogs. Love'em and Leave'em at home.
Due to the numerous issues surrounding dogs at Burning Man, the
organization has decided that it is not fair to dogs nor other
to allow dogs at the event. Burning Man staff will also be asked to
follow this policy.
The weather conditions and "alien" environment that makes Burning Man
the unique event that it is, is not viewed the same by a one to three
foot tall, four legged, non English speaking, fur coat wearing
canine. The alkaline soil is corrosive to noses, paws and bellies.
Dehydration and heatstroke happen very quickly and there is no animal
medical service at the event. Pets are also prone to responding
adversely to loud noises, huge sound systems, explosions, fireworks
and crazy costumed people. Dogs are at knee level to everyone and may
not enjoy the screaming, fire juggling, scary ass clown on a unicycle
as much as you do. Many animals have been lost each year and problem
dogs have caused serious disputes between camps. Complaints from
participants regarding dogs at the event include excessive barking,
using other people's property as a toilet or chew toy, digging,
wandering around unattended and being aggressive to other dogs or
Incidents have increased over the past three years. From a six month
old puppy staying at an Esplanade camp with a deafening sound system
and trays of chocolate at nose level, to a pregnant dog lost for two
days, to a participant that wanted someone (us) to watch his three
dogs while he "figured out where he was going to camp", the need to
re-state that Burning Man is a self sufficient event is very evident.
Dogs cannot be self-sufficient in the desert. The argument "Well,
neither are children" can be explained by the simple fact that most
participants do not treat their dogs as if they were their children -
people don't usually show up and leave their children to fend for
themselves in the heat while tied to a bumper, for example. Also,
animals do not have the same means of communication as humans and
cannot say, "I hate it here but I'll follow you around because you
are all I know," or "The dust is burning my nose and eyes," or "The
guy in the camp next door kicked me when you weren't looking," or
"Some weird lady just fed me whiskey."
This decision to ban dogs was made with the utmost concern for the
health and well being of both dogs and participants. This is not
meant to be restrictive to participants but to allow them the freedom
to experience Burning Man without the worries and stress that full
time care for a dog in the desert calls for.
Do not show up at the gate with your animal at Burning Man and expect
to be admitted to the event. Reno is a long way to drive back and try
and find kennel space during the generally pre-booked week before and
weekend of the Labor Day holiday. The best thing to do is to plan
ahead and find a petsitter, family member or friend, veterinarian's
kennel or boarding facility in your home area that you have visited
and feel comfortable with. If your pet will be staying somewhere new
and unfamiliar, take time to introduce them (accompany them several
times for short visits) to the person or place that will be caring
for them while you are at Burning Man and that may reduce the anxiety
they may have of being away from you. Remember to leave your
veterinarian's information with the caretaker and clearly explain any
medication or special treatment your pet needs while you are away.
As fellow participants and animal lovers we thank you for
understanding and implementing this new policy. Also, we do recognize
that new policies take time to implement and ask for your patience
during this process.