Is Sparks setting itself up to be a puppy store ban juggernaut?

SmithWe’ve written several time directly to Mayor Smith and City Manager Krutz asking for a meeting with Sparks residents in tow, including one who submitted papers to the DA for a bad situation she had with her Puppies Plus purchase.

Activists have even gone to a Council meeting asked to meet with Council members during public open comments. The response? There hasn’t been one.

Photo: Sparks Mayor Ron Smith

We did have one meeting with Ward 1 Council Member Donald Abbott. He heard our position graciously and thoughtfully and then mentioned that other Council Members would also meet with us and then we’d see what the next steps might be. He, caring though he is and wise beyond his years, was wrong. No one else has returned our numerous emails and phone calls.

Back in 2015, Puppy Mill Free Reno/Sparks asked activists to join us at the Washoe County Commission meeting wherein Regional Animal Services Manager (not the Director) was giving an update on regulations they had hoped to codify from the 2014 public meetings they hosted in order to meet NRS where the NV Legislature required all counties in Nevada to update their animal code to the strength of state animal laws, or make the stronger. Curiously, Washoe County was the last county in the state to make the updates which came years after all other Nevada counties updated theirs. Incompetence much?

And we were there to simply make the statement: The public doesn’t want more rules and regulations or loopholes through which puppy stores can wriggle. The public, in the form of 20,000 local hardcopy signatures, wants an end to the sales of dogs, cats, rabbits and ferrets in retail stores. End of story.

BybeeThe local and very small anti-animal rights activist network responded as if there were a vote being made that day to ban puppy stores in the County, which was not the case. They came there to defend the Schneiders, which on the whole, didn’t go over well, except with activist Commission member Jeanne Herman.

One of the anti-animal rights activists was Sparks City Council Member Charlene Bybee who made waves when she used her 3 minute public comment period to proclaim, complete with gestures:

Photo: Activist Council Member Bybee

Should Mr. Schneider want to have a store in our town, Sparks welcomes a puppy store with open arms!

Activist Sparks Council Member Charlene Bybee

KrutzSure that Reno was about to pass a ban on the sales of dogs, cats and rabbits (we were, too), Schneider took Bybee up on the offer—can’t help but wonder if the City gave him an incentive—and he opened Puppy Love in the back of a sparsely occupied strip mall in the northern reaches of the city without signage facing the main roads. Puppies are often an impulse purchase and the store being stuck “in a booth in the back in the corner in the dark” makes you wonder….

Photo: Sparks City Manager Krutz

But Reno finally is passing an ordinance that will end the store’s legal trade in puppies by late Spring 2020, latest.

But the Schneiders will be able to continue to sell to Reno residents and have them pick their puppy mill puppies up at the Sparks store. Just as now you see CA license plates, where puppy stores have been illegal since the first of the year, at Puppies Plus.

Reno’s ban will be effective in ending impulse purchases in the brick and mortar, but the Sparks Council’s welcome mat might make the whole thing moot. Why?


Shame on them!

We were forwarded a response, the one and only, it appears, from a community member who Mrs. Bybee responded to, in which she stated the Council was awaiting the outcome of the jury trial to see what their next steps are. Seems likely, as in the case of Reno, if the accused are found guilty the City has the ability to pull their license.

But with Mrs. Bybee being an activist for their cause and is not a person, so we are told, who tackles kindly to losing face, the Council may not do anything whether guilty or not. It could be Mrs. Bybee’s device to ride out the prolonged time to trial (Schneiders waived their right to a speedy trial so they could continue selling through the holiday impulse purchase season), and then choose to let Washoe County Regional Animal Services use their newly instituted Commercial Animal Welfare Permit to take the store to task in the end with Sparks taking a hands off approach.

RattiAnd if all else fails, we can hope the Draft Bill being presented by Senator Julia Ratti, a champion of us when she was Council Member for Ward 1, and a Sparks resident, will pass in the 2021 session and end this long-term cock-up once and for all.

Photo: Nevada State Senator Julia Ratti


Write to all the members of the Sparks City Council and the City Manager and ask them to please meet with Puppy Mill Free Reno/Sparks to discuss a proposal that 350 other US cities and counties have undertaken in the interest of animal welfare and consumer protection.

Puppy Mill Free Reno website with email link.