Las Vegas Sun

March 19, 2019

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Las Vegas repeals ordinance restricting animal sales

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 | 3:22 p.m.

The Las Vegas City Council voted 4-3 today to repeal an ordinance that would have prohibited pet shops from selling dogs, cats and pot-bellied pigs unless obtained from a shelter or nonprofit rescue organization.

The ordinance originally passed in a 4-3 vote in January 2016. It was scheduled to go into effect Jan. 6 and would have affected two existing businesses — Puppy Boutique at Rancho Drive and Craig Road and a Petland outlet at Rampart and Charleston boulevards.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman and council members Michele Fiore, Ricki Barlow and Steve Seroka voted for the repeal. Council members Bob Coffin, Lois Tarkanian and Stavros Anthony — all of whom supported the ordinance when it was originally before the council — voted against the repeal.

Seroka, whom animal advocates painted as the swing vote because his predecessor, Bob Beers, voted in favor of the ordinance last year, said his decision to support the repeal came down to a desire not to effectively shut down two local businesses.

Seroka said he has been working with county commissioners and state legislators to come up with a solution that better addresses pet overpopulation and other animal issues.

“I’m about solving problems,” he said. “You don’t make a rule that won’t solve the problem.”

The repeal came after more than two hours of public comment, the majority in favor of the ordinance.

Animal advocates in favor of the ordinance argued there is no way to know for sure whether the puppies in pet stores come from puppy mills and that outright bans are the best solution.

The pet shop owners argued for consumer rights, saying nobody should be forced to adopt a rescue dog whose background may be unknown.