Vegas News

Clark County moves to ban sales of dogs, cats at pet stores

Clark County wants to ban the sale of dogs, cats, rabbits and potbellied pigs at pet stores.

The County Commission on Tuesday introduced an ordinance amendment to prohibit the practice and approved a business impact statement, which suggested a one-year grace period for the affected pet stores to adapt to the new rule.

The proposal would allow retailers to provide space in their stores for rescue organizations or shelters to offer those animals for adoption, “which may continue to spur business for their other retail merchandise,” according to the county.

A public hearing for the proposal was scheduled for Nov. 1.

The purpose of the ordinance, according to the county, is two-fold: to better regulate the sale of such pets, taking on the black market for animals bred at “puppy mills,” and to help relieve packed animal shelters, according to the agenda item.

The embattled Animal Foundation shelter last month reported that its animal intakes were up nearly 50 percent compared with the previous two years, a historic trend being exacerbated by the pandemic.

“One thing is clear, there is no excuse to breed animals for retail sales, while we have thousands of wonderful animals already here ready to be adopted into loving homes,” Casey Kern said during public comment.

Commissioner Michael Naft introduced the proposal in June.

The board then asked staff to conduct an analysis and draft the ordinance.

The county also publicized the proposal in media, and contacted 458 related businesses and chambers of commerce, Jim Anderson, the county’s chief of code enforcement, told the lawmakers.

A business impact statement is designed to “minimize the impact this ordinance will have on businesses,” the county said.

Out of eight responding parties, seven opposed the ban, citing “significant and negative impact on their business,” he said.

Puppy Heaven, a California-based pet store, sent a letter noting that a similar ordinance had driven it out of business in that state.

“Puppy Heaven has many customers who are looking to purchase a puppy as a support dog… and need a particular breed of a puppy for such a purpose which cannot be found at a shelter,” the letter said. “…eliminating puppy retailers will have a significant adverse economic impact. Retailers will be forced to shut down causing both the retailers and all of their employees to become unemployed.”

The Puppy Corner made similar arguments, adding that an overwhelming number of dog sales are already conducted outside pet stores.

“A ban is not the solution as other counties and states that have passed similar bans are now reporting overpopulation in their shelters as well as families acquiring sick pets through unregulated sources,” its letter said.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at [email protected] Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.

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