36.7 F

Business Closes After County Passes New Animal Regulations


Image courtesy of Sierra Aquatics.

Sierra Aquatics is closing its doors. The business, located on Kietzke Lane, is Reno’s only exotic fish and reptile retailer.

Owner Daniel Gray said it was Washoe County’s new animal regulations that forced him to close. Sierra Aquatics posted its announcement yesterday (January 27, 2018) on Facebook.

“After the recent passing of Washoe County Code 55 and the restrictive laws coming to Washoe County for pet ownership, we have decided to move from the Washoe County area and start new chapters in our lives,” Gray wrote.

He said he attempted to work with the County for four years on the regulations. Gray said his business had a good working relationship with animal services, including taking in animals that the county could not place.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he explained. “We’ve never been cited for anything, we’ve never had an animal escape. We’ve had no issues. I had to have three different licenses — federal, state, and county — as it was.”

Gray said that the new regulations make it cost prohibitive to own exotic animals in Washoe County: “A $30 degu now requires an insurance policy that costs $800 to $1,200 annually. (A degu) is already licensed by the state department of wildlife for $50.”

Image courtesy of Sierra Aquatics.

He added that few insurers in Nevada offer insurance for exotic animals.

Sierra Aquatics received more than 150 supportive comments on Facebook.

“(This) breaks our hearts,” one customer wrote. “Thanks for always taking the time with my son… Your business was always so welcoming to our kids with special needs, and you always took the time to make their trip there fun and welcoming. Our town will miss all of you and your critters. Best of luck in your new adventures.”

Gray said that he is moving out of the county because he owns exotic animals, and members of his family, who worked at the store, are moving out of state.

“I might relocate out of state,” he told ThisisReno. “I’ve been working on the side doing real estate.”

Sierra Aquatics is hosting a going-out-of-business sale starting today.

“Beginning on Sunday January 28, 2018, we will start to liquidate our remaining inventory, shelving, etc.,” the company rote on Facebook. “Everything must go. Come by and check out our sales. We would like to see all of you before we leave. Thank you to all!”

Commissioner Orders Report on Exotic Animal Owners

County Commissioner Kitty Jung.

County Commissioner Kitty Jung has ordered an update on exotic animal owners in Washoe County in the wake of the regulations passing last week.

The county only has 10 people permitted to own exotics, but none of those names are consistent with those who spoke against the ordinances during public comment.

“I … want a full report on people who have self-identified has having and housing these animals in our community and that are not in any way under conformance (with the new regulations),” she said during last week’s meeting.

Animal Services Director Shyanne Schull said that she will provide updates to commissioners.

“I can tell you that the 10 exotic animal permits that we currently have on file do not belong to any of the names provided by those that spoke during the public comment (at the last meeting),” she said. “I can share with you what I will be sharing with the Board, relative to how many applications have come in, what types of animals are being applied for and if there are issues relative to the newly adopted code amendments as Commissioner Jung requested.”

Jung, who said she was an owner of exotics, said the new ordinances provide better government oversight.

Commissioners Jeanne Herman and Vaughn Hartung voted against the measure.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR and sits on the boards of the Nevada Press Association and Nevada Open Government Coalition.




Commissioners look to balance public safety, housing needs

A developer’s request for a fire road easement on Tuesday led to a discussion that seemingly pitted public safety against housing in a lengthy portion of the Washoe Board of County Commissioners meeting.