Black Rock City Animal Control
Safety and security from wild and rabid animal is our promise to you on Playa.
We make no other promises.

Clean Up Plan

Everyone in our camp adheres to the strict leave no trace policy. We will be packing out everything that we bring in. All structures are short (less than 15') and do not require digging outside of rebar holes. Additionally, the majority of our camp will stay through Monday to remove all rebar, trash and moop that we find in or near our area.

We have been successful with this plan for the past 7+ years as a group. In the past many members of the team have organized groups to sweep the open playa and streets for a couple of hours on Monday before we leave Black Rock City, and we expect that we will do it again this year.

Methodology In Developing An Enforcement Plan

  • Interviewed Animal Control Officers to obtain feedback.
  • Monitored activity in the field focusing specifically on outer rings and playa most in need.
  • Met with residents at sporatic meeting places to learn what their concerns were concerning the animal-related problems occurring in their particular camp.
  • Investigated historical data.
  • Related priorities to responsibilities and requirements.

Duties And Priorities

In determining enforcement priorities, several factors are taken into consideration such as public safety, animal safety and available personnel resources. The following is a list of some of those services provided by enforcement staff which are considered priorities:
  • Vicious & Dangerous Animal/Bites: Immediately responding to reports that an animal has either bitten a person or is menacing the public.
  • Animal Cruelty: Checking on the health and well being of animals reportedly being neglected or physically abused.
  • Responding to Requests for Service: Assisting other agencies in impounding or identifying the location of dangerous or vicious animals; enforcing animal-related ordinances; investigating complaints (leash law, noise, bear posse etc.), impounding stray and surrendered animals; and providing customer assistance and service.
  • Playa Patrols: Promote the importance of the leash law, population growth, and pet licensing through a combination of enforcement and education.
  • Patrolling for Stray Animals: Impounding stray animals before they can become a threat to the residents of Black Rock City or to themselves on the streets or playa.
  • Public Education: Taking a proactive approach in teaching and encouraging responsible pet ownership by setting up an informational booth at Burningman; making presentations at random hours of the day, at center camp and other highly-visible areas.
  • Pet Identification: Provide pet licenses to the animal-owning citizens of Black Rock City; facilitate the pet license acquisition process.

Enforcement Tactics

The Playa Team is comprised of ten-(10) full time Officers assigned to work in five geographical areas of Black Rock City (10 o'clock, 2 o'clock, Center Camp, 4 o'clock, and 8 o'clock). This team is responsible for picking up stray, surrendered, vicious and drunk animals; investigating animal bites, nuisance animals and other animal related complaints; promoting pet identification through pet licensing. This team will also coordinate efforts with the Playa Patrol Team by conducting emphasis patrols or "sweeps" of larger, more heavily used blocks for animal code violators at least daily.

The Playa Patrol Team is comprised of twelve-(12) full time Officers and they are assigned to provide enforcement to the playa. Daily duties include patrolling the playa to promote compliance of all animal-related ordinances by:
  • Utilizing bicycles as appropriate.
  • Using registered city vehicles, Playa Dept. vehicles, or other vehicles that may be at their disposal.
  • Performing periodic sweeps with the Playa Team in areas that generate frequent complaints or are known to have a high number of off-leash or untagged violators.
  • Use of Officers in modified uniforms.
  • Providing educational information by setting up an information booth at base camp with shelter volunteers.
  • The two Enforcement Supervisors will continue to provide support both in the shelter and field by being on staff and available seven days a week.

Deployment Methods

Playa Team: This team will be deployed in different geographical areas on a daily basis based on need and the available staffing resources for a given day. The Playa Team is expected to increase their visibility in neighborhoods by questioning residents about any animal that may be within close proximity. When requested to do so, the Officer assigned to a particular geographical area will meet the Playa Patrol Team to conduct an emphasis patrol(s) of larger, more heavily used blocks in that given area. If the Officer assigned to a given area for the day is unable work in that area due to hangover, still trashed, hooked up last night, etc., other members of the Playa Team will cover that geographical area as needed. Only in emergency situations or unforeseen circumstances will members of the Playa Patrol Team be reassigned to assist the Playa Team.

Playa Patrol Team: Members of this team will be deployed on a daily basis to concentrate on larger, more heavily used blocks in a given geographical area or those blocks determined by the residents to be most in need of enforcement. The Playa Team will utilize registered vehicles, other department vehicles, maybe even bicycles and may occasionally conduct enforcement activities while in civilian clothing. The Playa Patrol Team will also assist the Playa Team in conducting "sweeps" of problem blocks for loose bears, rabbits, cats, dogs, sqwerls, and leash law violators.

Enforcement Guidelines

Black Rock City Animal Control Officers maintain a Special Commission issued through the We-Only-Know-Who-They-Are Department which enables them to enforce all animal related ordinances within Black Rock City. Citations are not only a basic tool of enforcement to gain compliance but also serves as an educational tool as well. While Officers must use discretion in deciding whether a violator is issued an infraction notice or a warning, several factors must be taken into consideration by the Officer in making this decision.

The following are some general guidelines to be used by both the Playa Team and the Playa Patrol Team to ensure that enforcement activities are conducted in a manner that is fair and equitable to all residents.

A Citation shall be issued for violations including, but not limited to leash law violation when the violator:
  • Is aware of, but willingly violates the law.
  • Has previously been issued a warning, citation or playa exclusion notice for an animal related violation.
  • Fails to demonstrate even minimum pet ownership responsibility and is in violation of other animal control ordinances (e.g., no pet license, no watering equipment, no current vaccination, no evident control over the animal).
  • Gives false information to the Officer.
  • Allows the animal to:
    • bite or behave dangerously, aggressively or in a menacing fashion.
    • behave unruly; jump up on people.
    • fail to respond to commands.
    • chase art cars; enter or destroy art installations.
    • destroy residential camp property.
  • be off-leash in or near a playground, wading pool, beach, athletic field or any playa area where there is a concentration of children, or on or near a trail or any park area where people are walking, running, picnicking or engaging in other recreational activities where an off-leash animal would be considered by a reasonable person to be disruptive.
A Park Exclusion Notice shall be issued in addition to a citation when the violator:
  • Has received two or more animal related citations on the playa within a two-(2) day period.
  • Has received an Official Notice of Potentially Dangerous Animal for an incident that occurred on The Playa.
  • Is uncooperative or belligerent and the Black Rock City Rangers must be summoned to assist the Animal Control Officer.
A Warning may be issued, at the discretion of the Officer, if the following conditions are met and the violator:
  • Is not aware of the law (smaller "pocket" camps tend not to be posted with leash law signage) or tried earnestly not to violate.
  • Has not previously received animal control code violation warnings, citations or parks exclusion notices for animal related violations.
  • Has watering equipment and a valid pet license with the license displayed on the animal.
  • Has not allowed the animal bite or behave dangerously, aggressively or in a menacing fashion.

Public Education

Gaining voluntary compliance is the goal of any effective enforcement program. In order to achieve this, the public must be knowledgeable not only of ordinances but of the consequences of noncompliance as well. Both the Playa Team and Playa Patrol Team will disseminate information regarding Black Rock City Animal Control by:
  • Meeting and talking with camps and cooperating with them in their animal-related endeavors.
  • Staffing an informational booth at base camp; and providing pet licenses.
  • Maintaining contact through coordination with camps to keep abreast of streets where animal control activity is most in need.

Performance Measures

One of Black Rock City Animal Control's top priorities is to attempt to reduce animal related violations in Black Rock City and achieve an increase in voluntary compliance. This goal will be achieved by vigorous enforcement around the playa, public education, and positive reinforcement for responsible pet owners who abide by the law. The addition of two Animal Control Field Enforcement Officers provides much needed personnel for greater enforcement on the playa, more visibility to discourage would-be violators and staff to provide information to playa users concerning animals and the laws governing such. In order to determine the effectiveness of this enforcement plan, the following measures will be taken and/or considered:

  • At least daily, meet with residents of Black Rock City for their feedback on the effectiveness of Animal Control's Playa Enforcement program; report results to them and solicit ideas on what, if any, changes should be made to improve the program and report back to Base Camp with at least half of the feedback.
  • Animal Control will continue to upgrade the Computerized Animal Tracking System (CATS) to generate specific reports of animal-related complaints from the residents, and enable Animal Control to concentrate enforcement efforts where it is most needed.
  • Animal Control supervisors will examine Officer's daily activity closely to ensure that time and resources are being used efficiently.
On a daily basis or as needed, Animal Control will post the following statistics and information to base camp:
  • the individual playa areas patrolled
  • number of patrols made in each area of the playa
  • number of citations and warnings issued
  • number of reported rabbit bites on the playa
  • number of loose animals impounded on the playa
  • number of pet licenses issued