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SPCA appeals lawsuit against city of Reno to Nevada Supreme Court


The Northern Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is appealing a court loss in Washoe County’s Second Judicial District Court against the City of Reno and Reno Iron Works.

SPCA in early January filed an appeal with the Nevada Supreme Court after Judge Kathleen Sigurdson denied a petition of judicial review in December. 

The dispute is over whether Reno Iron Works can build a fabrication facility next to the animal shelter, as approved by the Reno City Council last year.

The nonprofit alleged “a large metal fabricating facility next to the SPCA-NN is incompatible with SPCA-NN’s existing use of their property and will negatively impact SPCA-NN’s ability to provide quality care and rehabilitate vulnerable pets,” among other claims.

SPCA posted the following statement on its website: 

“Multiple laws were violated during this process, and SPCA-NN has fought against the proposed project every step of the way. This project will be detrimental to our existing operations; specifically, the care and sheltering of vulnerable pets.

“We initially lost at the Planning Commission level because City of Reno planning staff did not properly instruct the Commission on what elements they were supposed to review as part of the “master site plan review“ application request. We lost by one vote, and one commissioner was very conflicted about approving the application. Had he been properly instructed by staff, he would have voted no. 

“Additionally, SPCA-NN also did not receive the legally required notice.”

Sigurdson in December disagreed.

“The findings made by [the] City Council were legally sufficient … and were supported by substantial evidence,” she wrote. “For example, the record indicates that City Council members extensively discussed traffic issues and its impact on the site proposal.

“In addition, this Court also finds that the lack of notice did not prejudice the SPCA because the notice provided to SPCA contained the required information, thus, actual notice was not required.”

The SPCA is seeking to have the state court determine whether Sigurdson’s ruling was in error related to the nonprofit’s legal arguments and “whether the SPCA-NN’s Due Process rights were violated by the ex parte contacts and investigation of a Reno City Councilperson in to the facts underlying the dispute.”

The supreme court has ordered the case to mediation.

Disclosure: SPCA’s attorney, Luke Busby, is representing This Is Reno in two public records lawsuits against the city of Reno. He would not comment on this case.

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.