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April 19, 2014

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Animal fighting law would get extra bite

Purebred-dog fanciers call legislative action a waste of time

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Nevada is on the verge of joining the rest of the nation in banning the owning, training or purchasing of an animal with intent to use it for fighting.

Assembly Bill 199, which would expand the state’s existing ban on animal fighting to encompass the related activities, is headed to the governor for his signature.

The bill received unanimous support from both houses of the Legislature.

Nevada is currently the only state in the nation that does not have such a ban on the books, said Beverlee McGrath, a legislative liaison for the Humane Society of the United States.

AB199 drew opposition from a surprising quarter: purebred-dog fanciers, who were out in force this session to oppose several bills they believed might encroach on their rights.

“We’re not in any way endorsing animal fighting, which is already illegal in Nevada,” said Candy Roper, president of the Bonanza Kennel Club in Carson City. “We just don’t see why, when the state has all these budget issues to deal with, lawmakers are wasting time on issues that are already covered.”

The bill won’t have any effect on the people who use animals for fighting and are breaking the law, Roper said.

But Assemblyman Joe Hardy, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, disagreed.

“We’re not so naive to think if we make a law this will never happen again,” said Hardy, R-Boulder City. “We’re going to make a statement, and speak for the animals who have no voice.”

Animal activists have been busy this session.

The Assembly gave final approval last week to a Senate bill that would limit the number of hours a dog could be tied outdoors, as well prohibiting tethers shorter than 12 feet, or the use of pinch or choke collars.

On Wednesday, Assembly Bill 15 passed out of the Senate on a 20-1 vote. The bill would require local pet sterilization ordinances to be posted in public parks, veterinary offices and be disclosed by retailers or dealers that sell animals.

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A bill to require registration and licensing of off-road vehicles breezed through the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.

It faces a likely veto from Gov. Jim Gibbons because it would impose a $20-$30 registration fee on all-terrain motorcycles, dune buggies and snowmobiles. The bill would require anyone who buys such vehicles out of state to register them in Nevada within 60 days.

The bill has wide support from riders, dealers, law enforcement, the Nevada Conservation League, the Nevada Association of Counties, the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association and the Nevada Farm Bureau.

The committee quickly gave its approval to Senate Bill 394 to allow time for the Legislature to override a Gibbons veto. The bill will go the floor of the Assembly and, if approved, will return to the Senate for agreement on amendments and then to Gibbons’ desk.

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Robert “Bob” Goodman, an economic development specialist, said he will again run for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor next year.

Goodman, 74, a Las Vegas resident who finished second in the 2006 Democratic primary, plans to make his formal announcement at the Memorial Day celebration this weekend in Tonopah.

Robert Unger won the 2006 nomination, but was defeated by Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki.

Goodman served as state economic development director during the administration of Gov. Mike O’Callaghan.

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