Pet stores and animal rescue advocates debate sales of popular pets in Clark County

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) — Many pet store owners and animal welfare advocates have spoken to the Clark County Commission on a proposal to ban sales of popular pets at local stores.

After FOX5 told you about Commissioner Michael Naft’s proposal for pet stores in Clark County, the stores told FOX5 they staged a public campaign to speak out against the ban.

“It’s high time for action here,” Naft said, noting the rise in the number of pet stores in the Valley. The change has come since cities in California and other West Coast states banned the sale of dogs, cats, rabbits and pigs in pet stores.

The proposal was announced by the Animal Foundation, which currently has 838 pets in its shelter. Last year, at the same time, the shelter had 667 animals in its care.

“There are a lot of adoptable pets out there, and encouraging people to adopt and not buy is the right thing to do…we know there are issues with puppy mills as a source for some pet stores,” said CEO Hilarie Grey, who noted that many designer and high-end breeds end up in shelters even as puppies. The foundation is holding a three-day fee waiver event this weekend, to help pets get adopted before July 4, which often sees an influx of dogs.

Many pet store owners and workers have spoken out against the ban, telling county leaders they are being unfairly categorized as irresponsible businesses and ‘barnyard breeders’, explaining why they scrutinize the source of their animals of company.

“We are the little man. Our dogs that we sell are microchipped. I’d love to sit down, crunch the numbers. Let’s see if these animals from the Animal Foundation, local rescues are among our animals,” said Trevor Duggan, owner of Puppy World.

“I think at the end of the day we have the same goal here, to weed out the bad livestock, to get the animals off the streets. We have a very high purchasing standard. We only go through USDA-certified breeders,” said Petland employee Vanessa Greene.

“There is no evidence that a ban on the sale of pets eliminates a single puppy mill. The exact opposite is true. Bans drive families to buy their pets over the internet, flea markets or unregulated pet stores, a space without any consumer protection oversight,” said Diana Kirkland of Petland Henderson.

The Clark County Commission will launch a business impact investigation, then create public hearings for a possible county order.

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