New pet stores in unincorporated Clark County would be forbidden from selling dogs, cats, rabbits or potbellied pigs under a proposed law.
Clark County commissioners will introduce the ordinance at their regular meeting on Tuesday. The item could return for a ratification vote at the commission’s June 6 meeting.
The ban would apply to pet stores that open after June 30.
It’s the third attempt in as many years by County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani to pass a law which will reduce Southern Nevada’s market demand for animals from puppy mills and other large-scale commercial pet-breeding operations.
“The animals are available wherever you want to get them,” Giunchigliani said. “There’s a rescue group for just about every breed in Southern Nevada.”
Since 2016 the commissioner has championed a similar law that would ban the retail sale of pets not obtained from animal shelters, humane societies or rescue organizations.
Giunchigliani believes she has a winning combination this time because the newest draft of the ordinance would not affect existing pet stores unless they change location or owner after June 30. She also expanded the law to cover rabbits.
“I think it works for everybody,” she said. “It’s a start, but at least we won’t be trucking in animals from out of state where they stack them in crates.”
Joshua Jones, deputy director of government affairs for the Virginia-based Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, wrote in an email that the law would cause more harm to local businesses than puppy mills.
“Unlike rogue internet pet sellers, or even shelters and rescues, pet stores are required to have a veterinarian examine animals offered for sale and they must transparently post certain health and breeder information,” Jones wrote. “In short, the proposed ordinance does not address the problem it is intended to solve. Instead, it will limit consumer choice and access to healthy, purebred pets. It also harms responsible pet stores in the county doing business now by severely limiting their ability to sell or otherwise transfer ownership of a store.”
The Las Vegas City Council repealed last year a ban on pet stores selling animals not obtained through rescue or animal care organizations, which was slated to go into effect in January.
The council also put a monthslong moratorium on applications from new businesses that want to sell pets, so city officials could draft a law aimed at cracking down on profit-driven commercial breeding operations. A new pet ordinance hasn’t returned to the council for consideration.
Staff writer Jamie Munks contributed to this report.