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June 30, 2015

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Dog bite brings urgency to study of animal ban on Las Vegas 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 »

The committee examining problems on the state’s most famous thoroughfare will expedite its evaluation of a ban on pets on the Strip, after a California man was bit by a dog on a Strip pedestrian overpass last week.

Since the Jan. 11 incident, Clark County Animal Control has been unable to locate the dog or its owner, a woman who was on the overpass begging for money.

Temple Stratton, 41, said he is “95 percent certain” the woman and dog appeared in a photo in the Jan. 3 edition of the Sun in a story about the proposal to ban animals on a portion of Las Vegas Boulevard.

The dog bite has added urgency to the work of the committee established months ago to study issues in the area, from its general cleanliness to unlicensed panhandlers. That committee will consider today a proposal by Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani to ban animals from the area that are not vaccinated and neutered or spayed. The proposal exempts animals accompanying guests at animal-friendly resorts or residents of the Strip.

“We’d like to deal with this right away and not tie it up in all the larger issues that we have,” Terry Murphy, a political/marketing consultant and a member of the committee, said.

Commissioners on Tuesday voted to have the committee examine Giunchigliani’s proposal to ban animals on the Strip.

County Manager Don Burnette, who is also on the committee, said if the committee works out the issues it could quickly be brought back to the commission.

Click to enlarge photo

A panhandler 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.

Since receiving the dog-bite report, Animal Control has been patrolling the overpass between Planet Hollywood and the Cosmopolitan and will do so for 10 days — the time it takes for an animal to show signs of rabies. So far, Animal Control has not found the woman nor the dog, said Jennifer Lances, assistant director of administrative services.

The chances of the animal having rabies are small, however. The Southern Nevada Health District’s disease reports online show no rabies cases for at least five years.

Stratton said a California doctor has advised him not to get rabies shots, which are very expensive, because it is so rare in Las Vegas.

“I’m not thrilled about the idea of rabies shots, but I’d rather not get (the disease), either. I have a 7-year-old,” he said.

Stratton said it was early evening when he walked out of the Cosmopolitan and headed east on the pedestrian overpass toward Planet Hollywood. He said he was wearing light, athletic-type pants. As he walked toward the woman and dog, the dog suddenly bit his leg.

“She was up and running before I knew it,” Stratton said. “I yelled, ‘Your dog bit me!’ And she yelled back, ‘My dog has insurance!’ ”

He said she ran with her dog down the overpass stairs to the street and continued east on Harmon Avenue. Stratton talked to security personnel from Planet Hollywood and the Cosmopolitan, which took a report but told him the overpass was public property, not casino property.

About 10 minutes later, Planet Hollywood security personnel told him another report had come in about another bite by a dog matching the same description. Lances said Animal Control did not receive a second report.

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