TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Hundreds of people, many with their dogs on leashes, attended Magic Valley’s first Pet Fest on Saturday at the College of Southern Idaho.

The highlight of the event was performances by the All-star Stunt Dogs, which put on three shows throughout the day. Between shows visitors wandered the college’s commons area where booths were set up, several by animal groups such as “People for Pets.”

The event, sponsored by Townsquare Media, was an effort to help local animal rescues and shelters raise funds. Those who set up booths could share information, sell product, or accept donations for their cause.

There are a lot of awesome dogs, some very well-behaved and beautiful dogs.

“I think we had a really good turnout,” said Janice Degner, Townsquare’s general manager.

She enjoyed seeing all of the dogs that visitors brought with them.

“There are a lot of awesome dogs,” she said, “some very well-behaved and beautiful dogs.”

While canines were the most popular animal at Pet Fest, they weren’t the only ones that made an appearance. At least one person brought a cat and another person brought a couple of rats.

Degner said she hopes this will turn into an annual event.

That sounds great with Jonathan Offi, who came all the way from St. Louis with his stunt dogs to be a part of the event. It was his first time in Idaho, he said, but hopefully not his last.

“It’s a beautiful state,” he told News Radio 1310 after the first show, noting that he was impressed by the number of people who turned out to watch his dogs.

Offi has six breeds and 14 dogs – including pit bulls – ranging from 1 to 13 years. They all have come from rescues. He starts training them the day they arrive at his home. The training never stops, he said, but it can take up to three years before an animal is ready to participate in his shows.

After Twin Falls, Offi heads back to St. Louis for a show and then on to Chicago.

“We have 100 shows in 50 cities this year,” he said. “It’s our biggest year yet.”

He said he’d like to return to Twin Falls next year.

It’s encouraging for us in planning another event next year

Spectators on Saturday said they liked what they saw.

Nic and Tina Day came from Boise to attend the event. It’s what Nic’s sister, Suzen Day, wanted to do for her birthday.

They brought their own dog, an Akita named Aries, who works as a therapy dog and visits local veterans in the Treasure Valley. Tina said she was impressed that Offi used pit bulls in his show – a dog that sometimes has gotten a bad reputation.

“He used them in the most positive way,” she said.

Twin Falls resident Kellie Griffith brought her 1-year-old Saint Bernard, Chase, to the event.

“As you can see we raise ponies not dogs,” she said, referring to the size of her animal. “We thought it’d be fun to come out and support this cause.”

She said she’d like to see more events like this one.

Degner said that’s a good possibility after Saturday’s success.

“It’s encouraging for us in planning another event next year,” she said.

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