The Roos-N-More zoo in Moapa will be allowed to partially reopen under a deal struck Monday with officials from Clark County and the Southern Nevada Health District.
Husband-and-wife veterinarians Jay and Valerie Holt have been cleared to resume private tours at their 3-acre zoo 55 miles north of Las Vegas while they upgrade the restrooms and make other improvements to the property.
Roos-N-More is still barred from holding regular “zoo days” for the general public four or five times a month, at least until the upgrades are made and the Holts receive an amended special-use permit from the county.
The zoo’s current county permit, which was first issued in 2009 and renewed in 2011, allows private tours for up to 40 visitors at a time but makes no mention of the open zoo days that regularly attract between 100 and 500 paying customers.
Valerie Holt said she was pleased to get part of their business back but concerned about the mounting costs of the upgrades they have to make.
“We’re still going to have to do some massive fundraising in the meantime, but at least we can open again to private tours and get some income coming in,” she said.
The compromise was reached after county code inspectors and health district officials visited the zoo again on Monday.
Roos-N-More was shut down on Jan. 10 after an inspection revealed several violations, mostly concerning the operation of a business on residential property.
None of the violations involved the care or condition of the Holts’ collection of about 385 animals.
Holt said she was told they need to install a commercial septic system and flush toilets. They also can no longer let visitors inside what used to be their family home on the property unless they bring it up to commercial building standards, she said.
The county code enforcement officials announced Monday that the closure order would be lifted so long as the public is kept out of any residential buildings and the zoo makes arrangements for alternative bathrooms.
The Holts are currently working to secure a modular bathroom unit, which resembles a construction trailer. They have been cleared by the county to keep using portable toilets on the property for the next 30 days while they wait for the modular unit to arrive.
County officials said the zoo has already addressed other issues involving unapproved off-site signs and the use of extension cords to supply power to parts of the property.
“The owners of Roos-N-More have been very cooperative during these last few weeks,” said county code enforcement chief Jason Allswang. “I’d like to thank them for working with us and our partner agencies to resolve this situation.”
Holt predicted it will take six months or more until they are able to reopen for anything other than private tours. She said she is still upset with health district officials for the way they have handled the situation, but “we are moving somewhere in the right direction with them.”
The Holts started opening their gates to the public in 2008.
The Holts’ menagerie now includes camels, kangaroos, lemurs, monkeys, otters and porcupines, along with a variety of birds and reptiles.
The zoo is accredited with the Zoological Association of America and licensed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the exhibition and captive breeding of exotic animals.
News of the closure has led to an outpouring of support for Roos-N-More.
Holt said they held an impromptu “zoo day” with some of their animals at a restaurant in Moapa on Sunday, and a man from Alaska stopped by to donate $5,000 to the cause. She said they received another $5,000 from Siegfried and Roy, and Zappos.com in downtown Las Vegas and the producers of “Evil Dead The Musical” at Planet Hollywood Resort offered to hold special fundraisers for the zoo.
The Holts also heard from engineering firms and plumbing companies that want to donate the necessary services and materials to get Roos-N-More up to code.
They have a long way to go, Holt said, but “we’re having a lot of people stepping forward offering to help.”
Contact reporter Henry Brean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0350. Follow him on Twitter at @RefriedBrean.