Clark County Commission Votes on Tougher Exotic Pet Rules - 8 News NOW

Clark County Commission Votes on Tougher Exotic Pet Rules

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C.J. the chimp will go to a sanctuary in Oregon. C.J. the chimp will go to a sanctuary in Oregon.

LAS VEGAS -- The escape of two chimpanzees from a northwest valley home last month has prompted county commissioners to take action on the issue of keeping exotic pets.

When chimps C.J. and Buddy broke out of their enclosure last month, it captured attention around the world. Buddy was shot by police, C.J. was captured. Just days ago, the I-Team broke the story that C.J. is now being sent to live at a sanctuary in Oregon. While the chimps may no longer be an issue, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak says there is concern something like this could happen again.

"My understanding is there's no regulation in terms of facility. The cages are 8 feet by 8 feet and no shade whatsoever and we don't have a limit in terms of what can be on a particular location," Commissioner Steve Sisolak said.

By a unanimous vote, county commissioners voted on several policy changes regarding exotic animals.

If people want to keep an exotic animal as a pet, they will have to explain how they plan to care for it and why they want it. There must be shade provided and cages large enough and strong enough to hold the animal. Cages can not be stacked on top of each other. In addition, animal control will be required to conduct regular inspections of the animal.

"I think it's a good start," said Holly Haley, Nevada state director of the Humane Society of the United States.

The Humane Society is supporting a bi-partisan bill by state Senator Michael Roberson and Assemblyman Mark Manendo that would ban private ownership of exotic animals.

"In light of what happened with the chimps, our public safety is obviously in jeopardy," Haley said.

"Prohibitions and bans just like in the 30s didn't work," Commissioner Tom Collins said.

He said it is important to approach the issue with common sense and an all-out ban would only cause exotic animal owners to go underground.

Another change made is that the county commission will now approve exotic pet permits instead of the planning commission. The exact language of the new regulations still needs to be finalized, once that's done, commissioners will vote on them as soon as September 5.

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