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Council sends dog & cat sales ban to final vote

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 7:08 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It took longer than they or local animal rights advocates wanted, but the Reno City Council has taken the big step toward a ban on the retail sales of dogs and cats.

The council signaled its intent last October on the heels of the indictment of the owners of the city’s only pet shop selling puppies and kittens.

Michael Schneider and his wife, Leilani Tau-Schneider, were charged with practicing veterinary medicine without a license. She faces an additional count of torturing an animal.

Testimony before the grand jury from former employees and animal services officers included stories of sick and neglected animals going untreated and even offered for sale. The dogs came from a broker in Iowa noted for links to Midwestern puppy mills.

The council, which had been urged by local animal rights advocates to act, voted for a six months moratorium on any new licenses for such businesses and a majority signaled in the meantime they would be seeking an ordinance making the ban permanent.

The coronavirus held up that time schedule. The moratorium was extended to the end of October, but input from the public didn’t stop. The council was told today thousands had signed a petition and nearly 300 residents had sent comments on the proposal. All but four in favor of a ban.

Councilwoman Naomi Duerr returned from meetings with the animal services committee with the proposed language.

There was little debate. The ordinance protects animal shelters and legitimate breeders. Stores selling pet food and supplies are not affected. A proposal to include rabbits and ferrets was set aside for further discussion as was the subject of a fine.

A proposal to make the ordinance effective six months after passage was scrapped after Councilman Devin Reese said he was in favor of giving the current business “zero time” to adapt.

There was no disagreement. And so, with a unanimous vote--approved by at least two of the members own pups--the ordinance passed.

It will need a final vote at the August 12th meeting and take effect immediately.

The store that started it all, in fact, is already closed because of the virus. The Schneiders still own a store in Sparks.

Their trial is still pending.

Copyright 2020 KOLO. All rights reserved.

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