By MARK WAITE
A group of animal advocates will be part of a committee that will recommend
revisions to animal ordinances, after Nye County Commissioners backed down
Wednesday from a bill that would have imposed tough zoning restrictions on
The idea of a citizens committee was hatched at the Pahrump Regional Planning
Commission meeting last week. Owners of various kennels and animal
sanctuaries, as well as a couple of Regional Planning Commission members,
help draft an ordinance.
The zoning proposal was defeated along with another new ordinance tightening
up regulations on animal ownership that was turned down by commissioners Oct.
3. The first ordinance had tough new restrictions on owning exotic animals,
better defined kennel regulations, had tougher penalties for vicious dogs,
would have banned dogs from parks and would have established an animal control
The animal proposal sent back to the RPC Wednesday addressed zoning. It arose
after neighbors complained about the New Leash on Life kennel, which opened
in the northwest Pahrump Valley. It proposed a 10-acre minimum size for a
kennel and a requirement to provide at least 2,000 square feet per animal.
"We need to educate people on responsible dog ownership," said Melinda
Sowash, a member of the Pahrump Valley Obedience Club.
"As far as the animal rescues go, we shouldn’t penalize people for taking in
these pets for the problem that irresponsible people have created. I compete
with my dogs and to have my dogs ttaken away because I don’t have enough
property to keep them on is not why I moved to Pahrump 22 years ago."
Nye County Interim Planning Director Cheryl Beeman noted that legally
existing animal sanctuaries and kennels would be grandfathered under the
Brian Turner, who owns cougars and leopards on a two-and-a-half-acre
property, said people wouldn’t hear his animals unless they were within 15 feet
Turner said he has known other big cat owners in Pahrump, ranging from Karl
Mitchell, who was sentenced to prison, to Carl Beck, a retired magician who
had respectable cages, who recently moved out of the Pahrump Valley.
"When you talk about 10 acres and 2,000 square feet per animal, whoever
proposed that knows nothing about the care of animals, or they’re trying to
create an environment where no one can even have animals unless they’re a
millionaire," Turner said.
Beeman said none of her staff members has time to work with the animal
advocates in drafting an ordinance.
County commissioners felt the animal committee could be successful in
drafting a bill, following the example of the ad hoc citizens water task force.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street Tampa, FL 33625
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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