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Exotic animal ownership a public safety issue

To the editor:

In response to Friday’s commentary, “Exotic animal bill amounts to a taking of owners’ property”:

State Sen. Michael Roberson’s dangerous wild animal bill, SB 245, remedies a problem that has been spiraling out of control for decades. Nevada is one of only six states that have not yet addressed the serious issue of unqualified and irresponsible people possessing animals such as big cats, bears and primates. A statewide survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research confirms that large majorities in all demographic groups, party affiliations and geographic regions of the state support the legislation.

The private possession of dangerous wild animals poses public health and safety risks and has a profound impact on animal welfare. The bill ensures that only knowledgeable and experienced facilities, such as accredited zoos and sanctuaries, are allowed to possess animals who have complex needs and require special handling and properly designed enclosures.

Owners of dangerous wild animals create a burden for sanctuaries, taxpayers, communities and emergency responders. No one wants to put our brave members of law enforcement in the position of having to shoot and kill another escaped chimpanzee or other dangerous wild animal, which would be the likely outcome regardless of an area’s population.

People who claim they have a constitutional right to own a dangerous wild animal are not the only ones impacted by their selfish and reckless decisions. They’re putting every member of the community at risk, for no good reason. No Nevada resident should have to worry about a neighbor’s tiger, bear or pet monkey escaping and possibly attacking children and pets.

Last summer’s tragic Las Vegas chimpanzee escape was not the first incident of its kind, and it won’t be the last if legislators don’t effectively address this problem in a meaningful fashion now.



The writer is Nevada state director of the Humane Society of the United States.

Sour note

To the editor:

I recently attended the Las Vegas Philharmonic at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Upon review of the program magazine I came upon a donor page, “Our founders.” A very impressive list of wealthy and generous individuals and corporations, including the Review-Journal, able to contribute $1 million or more. Also on this list were the Clark County School District, the city of Las Vegas, Clark County and the state of Nevada.

I find this absolutely incredible. My tax dollars help to fund all four of these. No one asked my permission to spend my money in this way.

Beginning with the school district, always claiming not to have enough funds, where do they have the nerve to donate money in this manner? That’s quite a few teacher salaries and a whole bunch of books.

It’s not appropriate for the city, county or state to contribute taxpayer monies in this way, especially when governments always cry poor. Not surprising as they liberally spend away our hard-earned money.

If the private sector cannot fund facilities like The Smith Center, then they simply should not be built. As beautiful as the center is, taxpayer monies shouldn’t be part of it anymore than the taxpayers should be funding athletic stadiums and other entertainment venues.




To the editor:

More, more, more, more, is the same sad refrain being sung at all levels of government in our country. More revenue, more taxes, more rules and regulations and more restrictions on our freedom.

Are we ever going to hear that government has enough money and taxes will be cut? Are we ever going to hear that there are enough restrictions, rules and regulations and that many will be rescinded and eliminated? I remain hopeful, but all I hear is more of the same refrain. More, more, more, more.



Gun-free zone

To the editor:

I chuckled when I saw the Viewpoints front-page cartoon Sunday showing armed parents dropping their child off at school with several teachers standing in front carrying assault rifles. I was thinking how over-the-top it was to portray armed teachers, but then I got to thinking as if I were a crazy person bent on killing schoolchildren for any ridiculous reason.

Would I pick this school or the one a little further away that is considered a “gun-free zone”? I know there would be no one in the other school who could stop me anytime soon. Remember, when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

Now put a little realism in this cartoon situation. Concealed-carry means exactly that. A crazy person wouldn’t know which adults in this school might be able to end an evil plan before he could even get it started. Again, he would look for one of those “gun-free zones” where his safety is protected.



Wrong experience

To the editor:

How is it that the Clark County teachers union can continue to employ John Vellardita, who was ordered to pay a civil judgment for conspiring against the Oakland, Calif., local of the Service Employees International Union while working for it (“Federal court upholds 2010 ruling,” Sunday Review-Journal)?

CCEA President Rubin Murillo’s explanation that Mr. Vellardita brought with him “vast experience” doesn’t hold water and perhaps can explain the current strained labor relations here in Clark County.



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