Pets dressed like ghosts and goblins strutted down the runway last night, inspiring animal rights activists to cry foul on an event intended to inspire humane treatment.
The first-ever Fantastic Furry Fashion Show was held by the Edmonton Humane Society to showcase “safe and affordable” ways to dress up pets for Halloween and winter seasons.
Voice for Animals spokeswoman Tove Reece feels though organizers say the event was well-intended, the practice is “simply inhumane.”
“Dress yourself up and leave your animal alone. It’s just inappropriate,” she said. “I know it’s a moneymaker and people think it’s cute, but you’re not really thinking about the animal.”
Pet owners adorn their critters with costumes every year, regardless, EHS spokeswoman Shawna Randolph said, inspiring the not-for-profit to educate on minimizing potential hazards.
Costumes which are store-bought over homemade, fastened with Velcro, form-fitting and without elastics is the only acceptable way to dress up dogs and cats, Randolph said.
The EHS also discourages pet masks or any gear accessories that restrict breathing or vision.
The animal rights group feels no matter the precautions taken, animals prefer to remain unclothed.
“The only thing animals should ever wear are coats to keep them warm,” Reece said.
“Otherwise people aren’t respecting the nature of their animals.”
A key component of the event, Randolph said, was to teach pet owners how to properly adorn their animals for winter months.
In spite of the criticism, Halloween costumes and winter gear are available for sale at the shelter, Randolph said, adding all items are humane.
“We’re surprised with the concern expressed. We’re the Edmonton Humane Society and we care about the welfare of all of our companion animals. We’d never promote something to encourage people to be irresponsible.”