Are you licensed by the USDA? Why is this important?
Yes, Hooves & Paws is licensed by the USDA, as required under the Animal Welfare Act. As such, our animals, property, carriers, enclosures, trailer and vet records are inspected annually by USDA officials during unannounced visits. Many petting zoos avoid taking the measures required to achieve licensing. When you contract with Hooves & Paws, you will see the difference in our animals and in our operation.
How much space is needed for the petting zoo?
Our petting zoo enclosure consists of wire panels that are expandable to accommodate most backyard and frontyard settings. They can be arranged in a variety of shapes and sizes. We ask that there be a fairly flat surface available, and a grassy area is preferred.
How is the petting zoo set up if a grass surface is unavailable?
Our standard rates are based on having close parking and convenient access to the site, as well as a grassy location for the petting zoo. For events on hard surfaces (such as parking lots or concrete), we can bring straw footing. In this case, additional setup fees will apply.
Do I need to get a permit if the petting zoo or ponies are coming to a community park?
Customers are responsible for obtaining any and all city, residential/HOA and park permits. Many times, no special permits are required. Check with your local City Hall or Parks & Recreation Department. Some locations require "Additional Insured Named,” which we can obtain for you. Please allow us at least two weeks to obtain this.
How many children may participate in the petting zoo?
We have found that the petting zoo animals are most comfortable with small groups of children. For large parties or events, we rotate smaller groups in and out of the enclosure area.
How much space is needed for pony rides?
The main requirement for pony rides is a flat surface and a fairly straight pathway. We try to avoid areas where we are required to make frequent or sharp turns, as this can make it difficult for young riders to maintain their balance. We are happy to discuss in detail your specific location and ensure that it will provide a safe environment for the rides.
Are the pony rides safe?
Hooves & Paws always make safety our number one priority. As such, our ponies are led only by experienced handlers, and all riders are fitted with a safety helmet prior to riding. For smaller children, an attendant walks next to the pony and holds on to the back of the saddle for additional security. Our ponies have naturally gentle temperaments and have proven to be sure-footed, safe and confident at a wide variety of events – from small backyard settings to busy community parks to cul-de-sac locations.
Is there a size/weight limit for pony rides?
Yes. Because miniature horses have a different bone structure than their larger equine counterparts, there are limitations on the amount of weight they may safely carry. Belle is able to carry up to 40 pounds, and is ideal for parties with toddlers and small children. For events with larger children, Tucker and Ema can carry up to 80 lbs.
Do you provide hand sanitizer for the petting zoo?
Yes. We require that children wash their hands both before and after entering our petting corral and interacting with our animals. We provide a hand-washing station with proper disinfectant.
Are you insured?
Yes, we are insured with a $2 million liability policy.
Are your animals properly vaccinated?
Yes, all of our animals receive recommended vaccinations and are de-wormed on a strict schedule. We will be happy to share our vet records with you upon request.
Are your animals clean?
Yes, they are groomed and bathed on a regular basis.
Are your animals friendly?
Because all of our animals are our personal pets, they are handled regularly and are extremely friendly. One of the biggest compliments we receive is how loving and sweet they are. We are confident that your kids will love them as much as ours do!
Who cleans up after the animals?
Any animal droppings will be picked up and disposed of throughout the event by our staff. We always complete a final walk-through at the end of every event.