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Clark County Commission adopts substantial changes to its animal ordinances

Effective December 1, 2015, numerous changes to sections of Title 10 and Title 30 took place including exotic animal ownership, dangerous and vicious declarations among other areas; but, for purposes of this organization, the more important changes are: changes to owned and stray cat handling, changes to conditions under which outside dogs and cats must be maintained, tethering/ chaining issues, and rescues receiving information on individuals from TAF.

Changes to how owned and stray cats are handled (10.06)
- These changes were made based on The Animal Foundation's desire to move toward a no-kill facility by ending the killing of "unowned" cats brought into the shelter. These cats represented a large share of the euthanasia. TAF also wanted to receive money from Best Friends and Best Friends wanted to receive money from Petsmart Charities by establishing "return to field" for cats so that cats brought into the shelter would simply be returned back to where they came from unless they were ill. Since Petsmart Charities is now under new ownership and most of its feral cat programs have disappeared, whether this money will be available is questionable.  Although Best Friends had an income of $65 million in FY2013, whether this group will continue the return to field program or provide any funding of the program without Petsmart Charities is also unknown.  TAF wanted the pilot program established in April 2015 to move forward regardless.  Some 600 cats returned as of the end of December, 2015 were touted.  Changes include:

  1. Feral cat colonies no longer have to be registered, and there are no more sponsors or a Central Sponsor of feral cats.  Caretakers must ensure that all the cats they feed are trapped, spay/neutered/vaccinated, and they monitor for new cats as well as provide food and medical care.
  2. There are substantial changes to the way cats are treated if they reach the shelter: (a) ear tipped cats (done through Trap Neuter Release programs such as those of the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society, Heaven Can Wait Animal Society, or Clark County Feral Cat Coalition (C5)) will no longer be picked up by Clark County Animal Control (with some exceptions).  If they are brought in, they will be returned IMMEDIATELY to where they came from. (b) Microchipped cats or those with ID tags must be held for 72 hours (hopefully finding an owner or organization during this time) and then will be returned or possibly put in adoptions. (c) Feral or stray cats that are not ear tipped will not be held for the mandatory hold time and will be spayed/neutered at TAF and returned by Best Friends volunteers and employees back from where they came. There are also allowances for stray cats going into adoptions, but it is not clear that this will happen, only that it can happen.
  3. Cats declared a nuisance by Animal Control management or picked up at schools-even though ear tipped, may not be returned. 

What do these changes mean for the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society?  If a cat got into a house through a doggy door, Animal Control will not respond referring it to other organizations-of which the LVVHS is one.  Finding a mother cat and kittens in a back yard will be referred to Best Friends to handle unless Animal Control offers the caller a trap and expects the person to trap.  It will be interesting to see how much effort an outside organization will be willing to devote to this situation, but the expectation is that the response will be limited and it will be up to local organizations to step up-as the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society has always done. While Animal Control will continue to handle sick/injured cats, the response time for these calls has not always been good as animal control officers struggle with a high workload.  After all, part of this change is to allow Animal Control officers to stop picking up cats in traps and transporting them to TAF and spend more time on dealing with dog calls. 

Rescue Organizations May Receive Info from TAF
- A rescue organization may request TAF provide information about any person or the cohabitants who intend to use the animal for fighting, or cruel purposes, or is being prosecuted for, or has been convicted of animal cruelty. And TAF cannot release any animal to a person with the same issues.

Changes to Outside Animals (10.32.135)
- Dogs and Cats must be provided with supplemental cooling during a heat advisory (changed from an excessive heat warning which is a much higher temperature).  When the outdoor temperature is above 85 degrees F, dogs and cats must have enough shade at all times to protect themselves from any direct sunlight that is likely to cause overheating or discomfort. Below 50 degrees F, dogs and cats must be provided with additional bedding or other protection to keep the animals warm (existing).

Changes to Enclosures and Restraints (10.32.140)
- Dogs cannot be tethered or chained for any more than 10 hours during a 24-hour period.  They cannot be chained or tethered at all during a heat advisory. 

What do these changes mean for the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society? Much effort goes into educating people who contact the LVVHS about animal cruelty, and exactly what constitutes animal cruelty. The LVVHS is proud of the work that it did to get some of the changes into the ordinance, and will work to provide more effort to get that information out to local HOAs, apartments, etc. working with Clark County Animal Control.  The issues regarding heat as an example go beyond the original excessive heat alert which was only for temperatures above 107 or so degrees.  It was crazy that in a place such as Las Vegas-given the extremes in temperatures, that there wasn't anything to provide relief for animals. Now the effort needs to extend to other localities' ordinances. There is still much work to be done.

 

 
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Don't have your dog or cat spayed/neutered yet? Call the Las Vegas Valley Humane Society (LVVHS) at 434-2009 or email us at LVVHS@cox.net. The LVVHS offers low cost spay and neuter clinics for cats and referrals for dogs...read more>

   

 

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