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Animals at large and cruelty should be the county’s only concerns

When I moved to Pahrump in 2000, it was a perfect place for a legal political refugee like me looking for freedoms: no zoning, no guns or exotic animal bans, and no random limits on domestic pets.

When Nye County proposed and passed new animal ordinances (zoning, Title 17 and animal control, Title 6), I was opposing these changes, as I didn’t think ‘socialist’, freedoms reducing, micromanaging laws belonged to rural Nye County. I also had my doubts about the county having enough funds to enforce these fancy city laws.

The Nye County Commissioners are having a public meeting on Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. in Pahrump, with a possibility of voting, to change the Title 6 again in the name of budget cuts and financial crisis. Ironically, the meeting date was already changed once due to an erroneous notice in PVT classifieds, which costs us, the taxpayers, a few hundred dollars to run.

In addition to the Pahrump shelter already being closed to the public, commissioners want to remove ordinances essential to public safety: animals running at large, impoundment of animals for protective custody, and release of impounded animals. To the best of my knowledge, none of the protective custody animals impounded in Pahrump shelter came from legally permitted homes. And what public safety issue is served by the proposed change that “Animals in park shall be restricted by leash and under the control of a person eighteen (18) and older”? Do we have a problem of teenagers responsibly leash walking their pets instead of letting them run at large?

The proposed changes would implement a moratorium (de facto ban) on issuing more permits already required by law, which are site specific: rescues, sanctuaries, special condition animals, commercial kennels and multi pet permits for more than a combined total of 6 or more dogs and cats. If this passes and you currently have 6 or more permitted domestic cats and dogs and want to move within Pahrump or are currently non-compliant, you will be illegal because of proposed new permits’ moratorium, unless you get rid of some beloved pets.

Even though the proposed bill claims there is no financial impact, just the opposite would happen: moratorium on new permits where people can’t get legal is going to increase the number of illegal owners (who will have no legal way to comply), and animals needing to be held in protective custody, but with no impound ordinances or shelter to house the impounded animals, which in turn will overburden our court system and cost the county more money. Assuming that moratorium on animal permits will decrease the number of animals and illegal owners in the county is as foolish as claiming that a moratorium on the driver’s licenses will reduce the number of illegal car drivers.

“Special conditions animal permit” (term encompassing certain exotics including wolf hybrids) owners will require a background criminal check, as if people with exotics should be treated guilty until proven innocent? These background checks will also be added expenses.

As a County Commissioner erroneously stated in this paper Aug. 12, the Animal Advisory Committee was not behind this and was not consulted. In fact, the volunteer committee is in danger of being dissolved by the proposed changes in the name of ‘budget cuts’.

Our elected officials need to remember that the USA is a republic; Nye government is here to represent the interest of the voters, not their personal agendas of restricting our freedoms of what type and how many animals we can own without their ‘permission’. Number or species of animals alone have nothing to do with public safety or animal cruelty.

We should go back before we had zoning, repealing all animal permits restricting our freedoms, and only deal with the issues that are public safety and animal welfare issues: animals at large and cruelty.

I still stand behind what I wrote in the PVT on Jan. 10, 2007.

http://archive.pahrumpvalleytimes.com/2007/Jan-10-Wed-2007/opinion/11878…

“I myself moved here from a more urbanized area looking for freedom and open spaces. I am sick and tired of the people who, like me, move here from urbanized areas, but then, unlike me, try to change it to be like the old ‘home.’ I have advice for these folks: If you are against freedom, guns, exotic animals, prostitution and gambling, do not move here. Leave and go home. Please, leave us alone so we can enjoy one of the few islands of freedom and peace in an otherwise over-regulated world.”

Zuzana Kukol, Pahrump

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