Moving Forward for the Pets: Barkleigh Adopts the WPA Animal Safety & Handling Standards

Grooming Business Basics

By Khris Berry

This new standard provides for the compassionate and safe handling of every pet involved in helping make pet–related events successful.

As groomers, we are constantly pushing ourselves to grow and increase our knowledge and skill set. We hold ourselves and the entire pet service industry to a high standard for the pets that we service across the span of our grooming careers. 

We are outraged when we service a neglected pet—one who is denied regular grooming services; a life spent clean and pest–free without matting. We cry out, “That’s not me,” when we see a tragic video of animal abuse by a groomer. No pet groomer wants their career defined by the actions of an abusive pet service employee. And for these reasons, the pet grooming industry must continue to elevate ourselves and maintain standards of care, safety and handling for the betterment of the pets we service. 

In August 2019, the World Pet Association (WPA) enacted the industry’s first Animal Safety and Handling Standard during SuperZoo. This new standard provides for the compassionate and safe handling of every pet involved in helping make pet–related events successful. 

Animals are voiceless participants for the enjoyment, exhibition and education of pet professionals at industry events, this program ensures that every animal has a steward to make certain their handling and care meets the gold standards set forth by the PPGSA Standards of Care, Safety and Sanitation. 

Barkleigh recognizes the need to safeguard the pets who are the showcase of their trade shows and competitions, and is proud to adopt and include the WPA Animal Safety and Handling Standards as a cornerstone of compassionate care for all events moving forward. 

The WPA Animal Safety and Handling Standards program provides an advocate on site during events for animals being utilized for demonstration purposes in our vendor/partner booths, in all seminar education or any demonstration sessions, and in the grooming contest areas such as the contest arena, contestant spa and animal holding areas. Additionally, all show grounds including the trade show, education areas, host hotel and exercise areas fall under the scope of the Animal Safety and Handling Standards. 

Each event will have a designated event Steward (or group of event Stewards) which may include judges, speakers or show staff who will be responsible for upholding the PPGSA Standards of Care and serving as a voice for the animals participating in any event. 

We are committed to helping elevate groomers and pet service professionals at every level—and helping the pet industry keep pace and grow with our consumers and clients. Our industry events are designed to highlight the brightest, best and most esteemed services and skills available—and no area of skills is exempt, including handling and safety. We encourage attendees and competitors to become familiar with these standards and elevate their skill sets to meet the challenges of a changing landscape. ✂️

For more detailed information on the WPA Animal Safety and Handling Standards, please visit: