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August 31, 2015

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Ordinance would ban panhandlers from taking pets on Strip

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Steve Marcus

A panhandler sits with a dog on a pedestrian overpass near Planet Hollywood Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. A proposed county ordinance would ban the use of dogs and other animals by people soliciting money on the Strip.

Dogs on the Strip

A panhandler, right, packs up to leave after soliciting money with a dog on a pedestrian overpass near Planet Hollywood Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. A proposed county ordinance would ban the use of dogs and other animals by people soliciting money on the Strip. Launch slideshow »
Chris Giunchigliani

Chris Giunchigliani

Panhandlers aren’t blind to the effect a sad-faced puppy or little kitten has on a passer-by.

People see a homeless person with one of those animals, and they might be more likely to pony up some cash. (Yes, some people are more sympathetic to animals than their owners.)

But enough is enough, says Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani. Today she will introduce an ordinance to the commission that would restrict animals on public and private sidewalks and pedestrian bridges on Las Vegas Boulevard from Sahara Avenue to Sunset Road.

Animals exempt from the restriction would be service animals; pets of legal, permanent residents living next to the Strip; animals possessed by the government; and animals permitted to be there for parades, special uses, by a licensed business or other government operations.

Panhandlers didn’t make the cut.

Giunchigliani was out of the country and couldn’t be reached Friday to elaborate on her motives. Commissioner Steve Sisolak said he had some questions, including how the ordinance might affect tourists who bring their pets with them and decide to take their pet for a stroll on the Strip.

“Are they banned, too? I don’t know,” he said.

Giunchigliani’s ordinance makes it the third one she has drafted to deal with some countywide animal issues. A few years ago, she pushed an ordinance that promotes the capture and spaying/neutering of feral cats. At Tuesday’s meeting, a public hearing will discuss her proposed law to ban the feeding of pigeons, which the ordinance refers to as “flying rats.”

A committee of casino executives and county staff has been meeting for several months to address various issues on the Strip other than panhandling, such as the growing population of unlicensed street vendors, adult news racks and the need for more policing. Still meeting, the committee is expected to make suggestions this year for long-term solutions.

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