Friday, July 22, 2022
At the Animal Foundation of Las Vegas shelter, cats and kittens nap the day away or stare forlornly out of their cages as they await their forever homes.
But the odds of being chosen this particular day — or any day — are long, with some 750 cats, dogs and other animals up for adoption. Most will have to keep waiting.
That’s why some animal rescue groups and advocates are lining up behind a proposed Clark County ordinance that would ban the sale of puppies, cats, rabbits and potbellied pigs at pet stores.
“There are thousands of adoptable animals that need homes in the valley,” foundation CEO Hilarie Grey said. “So, is there really a need to purchase?”
County Commissioner Michael Naft , who introduced the ordinance, says no.
At a June 21 commission meeting, Naft said there was a “huge oversupply of animals” causing “extraordinary challenges” for Las Vegas-area shelters.
Last month alone, the Animal Foundation took in nearly 1,000 cats.
In the first quarter of this year, Clark County’s Animal Protection Services picked up 610 stray animals, nearly 200 more than the same period last year. All of them go to the Animal Foundation’s facility on North Mojave Road.
The nonprofit shelter’s animal population was up about 25% in June compared with the same month in 2021, going from 2,117 to over 2,600.
In the first 10 days of July, about 580 lost pets entered the shelter, and only a small number were picked up by their owners, spokeswoman Kelsey Pizzi said.
The number of animals at the shelter — from dogs and cats to guinea pigs — typically ranges between 700 and 750 during its busiest season, which ranges from May to September.
Jeff Dixon, Nevada director for the Humane Society of the United States, said the flagging economy was partly to blame for the rising number of abandoned pets.
Some people may no longer be able to afford pets or be forced to rent a less expensive unit where pets are not allowed, he said.
“There’s a risk that something may have to go, and a lot of times, that is your animal,” Dixon said about the financial pressures people are facing.
Las Vegas is also “a highly transient town,” with people coming and going and perhaps leaving their pets behind, Dixon said.
In addition, some people who were working remotely earlier during the pandemic have returned to the office and may not have anyone to take care of their pets during the day, Dixon said.
“We saw a lot of surrenders and abandonment’s after the pandemic,” Dixon said.
There is no vote scheduled for the proposed ordinance.
By The Las Vegas Sun