Clark County officials have cleared the Roos-N-More zoo in Moapa to reopen, at least to private tours.
The county lifted its almost-month-old cease-and-desist order on Tuesday, allowing husband-and-wife veterinarians Jay and Valerie Holt to begin hosting up to 40 visitors at a time at their 3-acre property 55 miles north of Las Vegas.
“I’m happy we’re reopened and at least heading in the right direction,” Valerie Holt said.
The county closed the zoo to the public on Jan. 10 after an inspection identified several code violations, including a lack of flush toilets and a commercial septic system. None of the problems concerned the care or condition of the zoo’s 385 animals, which include camels, kangaroos, lemurs, monkeys, otters and porcupines.
Many of the violations were fixed prior to a follow-up inspection on Jan. 27, so code enforcement officials agreed to lift the closure order once the Holts made arrangements for alternative restrooms.
Extra portable toilets will be brought in temporarily while a new building is constructed to house public restrooms and a commercial kitchen where food will be prepared for the animals.
The Holts were using the kitchen and the bathroom inside what used to be the family’s home on the property, but code officials said the residence could not be used that way without extensive upgrades to meet commercial building standards.
Valerie Holt said she does not yet know how much the new building will cost, but fundraising efforts are well underway.
The zoo has already raised more than $10,000 through the crowdfunding website gofundme.com, and others have donated money — or promised to — directly to the Holts.
Roos-N-More could get a huge boost on Feb. 15 and 16, when Zappos.com hopes to hold a benefit “zoo day” featuring some of the Holts’ animals at the company’s downtown headquarters. Holt said the Zappos representative she talked to was hopeful the event could bring in as much as $100,000.
In the meantime, being able to reopen to private tours will help take some of the financial pressure off.
“It will at least cover payroll and feeding the animals,” Holt said.
Roos-N-More used to open its gates to the general public four or five times a month, but those events technically were not allowed under the county special-use permit the Holts have held since 2009.
Once the new restroom building is in place, Roos-N-More will have to apply for an amended special-use permit before it can start holding “open zoo days” again.
Those events would regularly attract between 100 and 500 paying customers.
Contact reporter Henry Brean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0350. Follow him on Twitter @RefriedBrean.