Peter Renzo, big cat owner, cited on charges of violating County Code

Avatar BCR | November 25, 2010 21 Views 0 Likes 0 Ratings

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SILVER SPRINGS–Although Lyon County gave Pete Renzo 45 days to obtain a Restricted Animal Permit to house five Siberian tigers and one black panther at his large cat compound on Cougar Street, the Silver Springs man ultimately has not complied with that request, and was cited by county officials for not having such a permit.

Last Friday, Lyon County Manager Jeff Page announced that Lyon County Animal Services and the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office had issued a citation to Renzo for not having a restricted animal permit for his big cats.

Renzo operates the SABRE Foundation and indicated in a previous interview that his operation has been licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 30 years, and that he holds a Class C Exhibitor’s license, which allows him to operate as a zoo.

He further contends zoos are exempt from the County Title 7 code requirement for a restricted animal permit.

Renzo has been living in Silver Springs, along with his cats, for eight years and previously was grandfathered in under the existing code until he moved his facility to East Cougar Street, reported Page.

Renzo has moved four times since he moved to Silver Springs; and once the SABRE Foundation moved to the Cougar Street area, it sparked concerns among some residents in that area, who circulated a petition in September that asked county officials to prohibit such big cats from being located in a residential area due to public safety concerns.

At several public meetings, residents from that area were concerned about the safety of the cages, and appeared leery of whether those cages could prevent an escape by the big cats. Residents also told officials they were concerned for the safety of their children, pets and livestock.

Renzo indicated that his cages are cemented into the ground and the cages and roofs are made of heavy chain link fencing material. Additionally, he noted his facility was inspected by the USDA in August, and a veterinarian also examined the big cats. He also said that prior to his move, he informed Lyon County Animal Services Office of his plans.

The Lyon County Animal Services Advisory Board voted to amend the Restricted Animal Ordinance on Sept. 21, and Page noted that Renzo was notified by his office to comply with the requirement for a restricted animal permit or a citation would be issued.

Page also indicated the LCSO, LCAS, the Lyon County District Attorney’s Office, and the County Manager’s Office have been conducting an investigation that for the past 60 days.

Renzo is scheduled to appear in Walker River Justice Court in Yerington on the citation charges on Dec. 21 at 9 a.m.

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