Clark County bans sale of commercially bred dogs, cats, rabbits, and pigs in pet stores

Nathan Winograd reports: “Clark County, NV, unanimously approved an ordinance prohibiting the sale of commercially-bred dogs, cats, rabbits, and pigs in pet stores. Pet stores can partner with shelters and rescue groups if they want to have animals. These laws work. Because of them, the number of USDA-licensed breeders has declined by 30%, and “Nebraska Department of Agriculture records show that half of the state’s commercial dog and cat breeders have left the business.” Mr Winograd understands animal rescue better than anyone else in the US. Listen to him.

Commercially bred dogs in very poor conditions
Commercially bred dogs in very poor conditions. Image: Nathan Winograd. Click it for a larger version.

This is a controversial law which comes into effect next year. This isn’t the first county in the US which has banned the sale of pets from pet stores. It appears that there’s been a long hard debate about introducing this ban on sales of most pets in Clark County stores. Clark County encompasses Las Vegas.

The law includes puppies, cats, rabbits and pigs.

It seems that a motivator for introducing the law is the increased number of abandoned animals at shelters which obviously need to be adopted.

I’m sure that the administrators of the county thought it was incompatible to have overloaded shelters and cats and dogs for sale in pet shops. It makes far more sense for those pet shops to adopt out shelter animals.

However, it seems that this is a complete ban on the sale of dogs, cats, bunnies and pigs although Winograd reports that it is a ban on the sale commercially bred animals. Does that leave the door open for adopting out shelter animals? I guess it must. However, they can’t sell shelter animals.

There are arguments on both sides. The pet store owners are unhappy.

Fox 5 provocatively states that “banning pet stores has also introduced rabies, distemper and diseases throughout the US.” I don’t know what the evidence is on that.

Pet store owners have taken out five-year leases when they were allowed to open the stores two years ago. Now they going to have three years of unexpired rental on these leases to cope with without any income from the sale of these animals. One pet store owner argued that pet stores are “going to be in hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt because they can’t complete their leases”. An exaggeration?

And another pet store owner felt that they have been unfairly blamed. It appears that some people have blamed them for selling animals which are then abandoned at shelters. They argue that it is unfair to make that supposition and there is no evidence to support it.

A local pet store owner said that there haven’t been any violations and therefore it does not make sense to shut down stores which are in complete compliance with the law. Comment: that isn’t the point. This isn’t about compliance and non-compliance; it’s about enhancing the possibility of adopting companion animals from shelters and not buying them from pet shops.

If the stores are banned from selling these animals, people who want to adopt a cat or dog will now have to go to a shelter and that is the point of the ban as I interpret it.

The pet stores have one year to sell all the animals they have in stock then they must stop for good.

The ban only applies to incorporated Clark County. Comment: personal viewpoint: great law.

Commissioner Michael Naft introduced the local law (ordinance) because of the crisis faced at local shelters, as mentioned.

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