2020 State of the State: Bye-Bye Puppy Stores!

Have talked to a lot of elected officials over the past 4 months: one thing seems to be clear at the start of the new year: they all signal they are DONE with puppy stores.

To the person, they all think the trial will find the Schneiders guilty followed with the requisite closing of both stores they own.

Makes us uneasy as the trial could go either way. And frankly—it seems anyway—the more confident a party the more the surprise when the jury foreperson declares

“We the jury have found the defendants…

(pause…. drama….)

NOT guilty!”

Asked about such a contingency they all have declared, “Well, then we’ll have to see what steps we will have to take….”

Making it feel pretty certain that one way or another the stores will be closing, whether through ordinance such as in Reno or by the recent licensing requirement of the stores that could have Animal Services bear down on them in such a way the owners would cry “Uncle!”

Reno’s ban

Reno’s ban was unanimously voted by Council to include the current store on October 23rd after activists pitched a fit at the September 19th emergency meeting when staff told Council the current store would have to be exempted from the ban. Billy Howard spoke in public comment again at the conclusion of the meeting asking staff to cite what ordinance or state law precludes the current store from a ban and that we were going back to the problems of 2015 with staff being the “tail wagging the dog.” The community has wanted an end to puppy mill stores since 2013 and staff has made the appearance of countering that mandate from its inception.

At the subsequent October 23rd meeting, the City Council was unanimous in including the current store in the ban. PMFR was in constant contact with staff liaison Angela Fuss during that period providing statistics on bans that included current stores and the average frequency of amortization, which was low: 1 month, with a number of recent bans effective immediately. That was then included by staff in the pitch to the council for the ban going forward.

Staff has until April 24th, 6 months from passage, to produce an ordinance (and its placement in code) for the Council to vote on, likely yet another unanimous vote. Bonnie Weber was against us when she was a county commissioner, citing the northern territories of Washoe County are adamantly against any kind of animal rights or even animal welfare protections, but remained silent during council comment period. Council Member Brekhus is a contentious player, but even she voted to include the current store under a ban which passed unanimously.

Timeline to passage

If staff is able to produce the ordinance by the deadline and doesn’t ask for an extension, Council will vote on the ordinance—which seems very likely to pass—then another period has to go by of either 2 weeks or 1 month for the second reading of the ordinance to become law. There’s another period of 2 weeks to 1 month where state law requires an ordinance change to be published in the local newspaper before the law can be enacted.

Activists have to be prepared that there may be a request for an extension because of the convoluted nature of Reno’s laws within the entanglement of the “Interlocal Agreement.” Humane Society of the United States lawyers have offered to produce an ordinance, but it cannot be the cookie-cutter version that was originally pioneered by local activist Dawn Armstrong in South Lake Tahoe in 2009. To get it right and without objection from Washoe County, that could take time. PMFR activists are involved in this process after Mayor Schieve directed staff to work with us on the matter.

Reno’s ban, therefore, could be enacted as early as May 22 or as late as July 1. And that’s with an “effective immediately” clause. If there’s a 1 to 6 month amortization period, the effective date could be pushed out to next fall.

PMFR activists have been working in the background to push for an effective immediately clause in the ordinance. It is the most common amortization as we have demonstrated through the data found on Puppy Mill Free.US.

Subscribe to our calendar and this blog for timeline updates.

Sparks

Sparks, by the way, is excluded in all this. They just simper at activists from the dais when asked to meet with them. The Libertarian juggernaut that is the Sparks Council is immovable. But when Schneiders are found guilty, the matter will, finally, be out of their hands. We’d sure like to see an ordinance there preventing any future stores from coming in and starting the whole mess 0ver again. Anyone who does any mild amount of research will come to the same conclusion:

There are no good puppy mill stores.

An awful lot of questions remain and we blanch at the cavalier attitude to a jury trial, especially after witnessing the Writ hearing where it was clear to all the DA of the day could have been stronger.

But the bottom line is as in our top line: Local officials are sick of the hot mess that are puppy stores and the community is marching to end them.

We all wish it would be sooner than later.

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