As We See It

Breaking down the Strip’s new pet curfew

Even Elvis couldn’t block the new ordinance

It probably wasn’t the first time Elvis took the stand at a Clark County public hearing, but I’m guessing impersonator Ray Cordova is the only one who fought for his right to wear matching jumpsuits with his dog on a Strip sidewalk. A commissioner asked if he would sing. “If you help me out with this ordinance,” he said, “I’ll sing.”

Cordova didn’t. The ordinance revision, which proposed limiting pet access to Las Vegas Boulevard’s walkways from Sunset to Sahara to just 5 a.m. to noon (with exceptions ranging from service animals to those with special use permits), passed in a unanimous vote. Cordova was the only citizen there to oppose it (one other guy went on a head-scratching tangent about “smut peddlers”), despite the uproar that followed an earlier version that would have banned most pets altogether.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani drafted both in response to cruelty complaints made to the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society, mostly related to extreme weather and exposure. The nonprofit’s president, Karen Layne, was at the hearing to voice her support. “This is not a homeless problem. This is about animals being exploited ...” she said, referencing the Nevada ACLU’s assertion that the impact on homeless panhandlers with pets would be unconstitutional.

Whatever problems it addresses, the new ordinance will impose fines of $100 to $500. That may get pets (and the occasional Elvis) off Strip sidewalks, but it won’t help homeless animals get safely off the streets. According to the county’s animal control website, 23,336 (mostly dogs and cats) were impounded between 2010 and 2011, and nearly 15,000 were euthanized. Show me an ordinance that makes a dent in that number, and I’ll sing.

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Erin Ryan

Erin got her first newspaper job in 2002 thanks to a campfire story about Bigfoot. In her award-winning work for ...

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