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Las Vegas may do away with coming ban on pet sales

Updated November 7, 2017 - 3:54 pm

Las Vegas city officials are considering walking back a 2016 move to ban the retail sale of dogs, cats and potbellied pigs, amid concerns it hurts businesses that do not obtain animals from puppy mills.

Councilwoman Michele Fiore wants the council to repeal the ban, which she called a “ridiculous bill,” before it takes effect in January.

“This particular ordinance implemented in the city doesn’t give animal lovers a choice,” Fiore said at Wednesday’s Las Vegas City Council meeting.

Councilman Ricki Barlow, who voted against the ban in 2016, and Councilman Steve Seroka echoed Fiore’s issues with the ban.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman, who also voted against the ban last year, said she wants to raise the discussion for the council again. Only two pet stores in the city would be affected by the ban: Puppy Boutique and Petland. Large pet retailers like Petco and Petsmart do not sell the now-banned animals.

“I felt we isolated two pet shops, and they’ve always sold from registered breeders,” Goodman said.

City officials said Wednesday they’re not aware of any “puppy mills” operating in Nevada.

If the council doesn’t act, the ordinance will take hold in the city Jan. 6, two years after the council voted 4-3 to approve it. The council’s two new members, Fiore and Seroka, may well swing that vote in the other direction if the council votes to repeal.

Barlow favors repealing it “and really trying to solve this problem.”

Barlow contended that if the vote were to shut down a puppy mill, the council would vote unanimously in favor of that.

“I’d like to see this repealed and come back with something else that wouldn’t hurt businesses that have been doing business appropriately,” Barlow said.

The Clark County Commission on Tuesday delayed voting on a similar ordinance after local pet sellers told officials the language would go too far and hurt business.

California this month became the first state to do what Las Vegas officials are considering repealing — requiring pet stores to sell only dogs, cats and rabbits from rescue organizations.

When that law takes hold in 2019, individuals will be able to buy animals from private breeders, but stores will not.

Carly Scholten, chief operating officer for the Animal Foundation, told city officials Wednesday the organization’s Las Vegas campus is housing about 900 animals currently.

Councilman Bob Coffin, one of the sponsors of the ban the council approved last year, said he’s still happy with that move.

“This town is full of unwanted animals,” Coffin said.

Contact Jamie Munks at jmunks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @JamieMunksRJ on Twitter.

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