As We See It

Shop and adopt: What you need to know about Vegas’ new pet-store law

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With the City of Las Vegas’ new law, pet-stores can only “display, sell, deliver, offer for sale, barter, auction, give away, broker or otherwise transfer or dispose of” animals from a shelter, rescue or nonprofit humane society, such as the dogs pictured here at the Animal Foundation’s Lied Animal Shelter.
Photo: Steve Marcus

The City of Las Vegas recently passed an ordinance banning pet shops from selling animals that come from breeders and puppy mills. However, questions flew about zoning, definitions and other specifics.

What is the law? Pet stores may not supply their businesses with dogs and cats (and pot-bellied pigs) from breeders or so-called puppy mills. They can only “display, sell, deliver, offer for sale, barter, auction, give away, broker or otherwise transfer or dispose of” animals from a shelter, rescue or nonprofit humane society, and have two years to transition into that business model, or stop selling dogs and cats entirely. More than 110 American cities have passed a similar law.

Who is affected? Only businesses within the city limits of Las Vegas—specifically, the Puppy Boutique (4343 N. Rancho Drive) and Petland (8800 W. Charleston Blvd.). Unincorporated Clark County, Henderson and North Las Vegas have no laws limiting the sale of animals acquired from breeders and puppy mills.

What are puppy mills? They’re large, commercial animal-breeding operations that have been criticized for decades—increasingly so in recent years—due to allegations that their animals are mistreated and/or subjected to poor living conditions.

What if I want to buy a certifiable pure-bred dog or cat and circumvent the pet stores? Everyone in the Valley is allowed to buy animals from private/individual breeders with permits. Pet experts strongly recommend researching and/or visiting breeders before buying from them.

So where do those dogs and cats often displayed at Petco and Petsmart come from? They are foster or shelter pets, and can only be adopted. This is the model Las Vegas pet stores must follow if they are to continue making dogs and cats available.

This story has been updated from an earlier version.

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Mike Prevatt

Mike started his journalism career at UCLA reviewing CDs and interviewing bands, less because he needed even more homework and ...

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