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September 19, 2014

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Ordinance would ban panhandlers from taking pets on Strip

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Steve Marcus

A panhandler sits with a dog on a pedestrian overpass near Planet Hollywood Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. A proposed county ordinance would ban the use of dogs and other animals by people soliciting money on the Strip.

Dogs on the Strip

A panhandler, right, packs up to leave after soliciting money with a dog on a pedestrian overpass near Planet Hollywood Friday, Dec. 30, 2011. A proposed county ordinance would ban the use of dogs and other animals by people soliciting money on the Strip. Launch slideshow »
Chris Giunchigliani

Chris Giunchigliani

Panhandlers aren’t blind to the effect a sad-faced puppy or little kitten has on a passer-by.

People see a homeless person with one of those animals, and they might be more likely to pony up some cash. (Yes, some people are more sympathetic to animals than their owners.)

But enough is enough, says Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani. Today she will introduce an ordinance to the commission that would restrict animals on public and private sidewalks and pedestrian bridges on Las Vegas Boulevard from Sahara Avenue to Sunset Road.

Animals exempt from the restriction would be service animals; pets of legal, permanent residents living next to the Strip; animals possessed by the government; and animals permitted to be there for parades, special uses, by a licensed business or other government operations.

Panhandlers didn’t make the cut.

Giunchigliani was out of the country and couldn’t be reached Friday to elaborate on her motives. Commissioner Steve Sisolak said he had some questions, including how the ordinance might affect tourists who bring their pets with them and decide to take their pet for a stroll on the Strip.

“Are they banned, too? I don’t know,” he said.

Giunchigliani’s ordinance makes it the third one she has drafted to deal with some countywide animal issues. A few years ago, she pushed an ordinance that promotes the capture and spaying/neutering of feral cats. At Tuesday’s meeting, a public hearing will discuss her proposed law to ban the feeding of pigeons, which the ordinance refers to as “flying rats.”

A committee of casino executives and county staff has been meeting for several months to address various issues on the Strip other than panhandling, such as the growing population of unlicensed street vendors, adult news racks and the need for more policing. Still meeting, the committee is expected to make suggestions this year for long-term solutions.

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  1. Hmmmm...Perhaps only Americans should be allowed on the strip. What about all those porno ppl and their colorful handouts?? Freedom of speech?? Maybe Ms. G is correct -- just think it might be overstepping a bit. Some of these homeless have only their animals.

  2. Maybe to be fair, is give them a time limit. This restricting public access is a sticky wicket. As a resident who shops off the Las Vegas Strip, what I see happening is pushing these unfortunate folks into our suburban neighborhood shopping centers into increasing numbers, hardly fair for the rest of us and our families.

    What needs to be addressed is HOMELESSNESS!!!

    THAT is the gorilla in the room here. Some who beg are foreclosed and lost all they had fighting in a game that only the BANKSTERS and Wall Street corporate world single-handedly and criminally WON. The little guy American didn't and doesn't stand a chance as a snowflake in hell.

    As for caring about their animals, let a full time pet social worker address feeding these companion pets (advertise it as well, so the public is aware, therefore decreasing the sympathy factor), so that eliminates any reason to put a poor animal as a prop to beg.

    At some time, these same folks begging, paid taxes, fought our wars, were respectable citizens who were on equal footing, now, due to some loss or misfortune, they are disvalued and disregarded in our society. We must address their plight meaningfully and as best as we can.

    Remember, some of us are only a paycheck or two away from the same condition!

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  3. "Panhandlers didn't make the cut."

    Probably because they didn't organize and pay a suit to plead their case to the Commissioners.

    "Remember, some of us are only a paycheck or two away from the same condition!"

    star -- or just one piece of paper. Excellent post, as always! Some years ago I read a series in the local paper about a couple who were supposed to be an example of the community's norm -- Mormon, a couple of young kids, combined annual income of just under $100,000, investments, a cabin in the mountains, etc. Laughable when the actual community norm for a family was closer to what star described -- one missed paycheck, one blown engine, one trip to the emergency room away from losing everything.

    My son lived like this girl for several years. They were called gutter punks in the 90s. I've had some of them as overnight guests in my home several times and for the most part found them to have better manners than the average high school kid.

    Never forget these people are using the public right of way like everyone else. So long as they don't obstruct or engage in menacing, intimidation, etc., if you don't like what they offer exercise your counterpart right to decline and move on. Then give a think about what you would do if you didn't have enough to eat that day.

    "Practise what I call a decent mammalian philosophy" -- Hervey Allen, 1933

  4. "...Having pets there is nothing more than a transparent attempt to evoke more sympathy (read "more money") from passers by...The homeless need to be reigned [sic] in, they play upon others' emotions and often make a living from panhandling that's better than what they'd get from a job, because people are suckers and give them money."

    naturalblonde -- what a despicable post. You're "transparent attempt" is meaningless since it's the basis of most if not all advertisements and propaganda, including animal shelters. Pray you don't find yourself begging like them just trying to get something to eat. Got a quote just for you --

    "I'm never too busy that I can't stop to enjoy someone else's suffering." -- the late, great George Carlin in "White Guys Who Shave Their Heads"

  5. Wow, naturalblonde what a hateful comment. Did you ever stop to think that homeless people have no where else to leave their pet? THEY'RE HOMELESS!! In many cases these are the only true friend they have, and last time I checked 95% of homeless shelters do not allow animals....in many cases homeless folks stay on the street because they don't want to lose their companion animal, and have no choice. What Chris Giunchigliani is doing is in essence blaming the animals for the unfortunate state of their human handlers. Address the homeless issue and give these people resources, not have Metro on their butts because they're sitting on a sidewalk with their dog.

    If Chris Giunchigliani is so worried about activity on the strip maybe she could put in place an ordinance to get rid of those damn street pedlers that block the sidewalks, and practically harass you into taking the porno cards. Between the cackling they do and making the slapping sounds and getting in everyone's faces they are the biggest nuisance on the strip, not the homeless!

  6. Also, as Star mentioned above "Remember, some of us are only a paycheck or two away from the same condition!" Amen to that. In this economy I dare say most of us don't have such a large amount of savings that should the perfect storm hit we may not ourselves be in the same boat as these folks.

  7. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment provides in relevant part:

    "No State shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

    That means a proposed County ordinance which would divide the world into two classes: one consisting of people with a fixed address near the Strip and the other class consisting of people who do not live near the Strip and gives one class rights and subjects the the other class to arrest, fine, and confiscation of property patently violates the 14th Amendment.

    And that little favor-currying ordinance will subject the taxpayers of Clark County to having their tax money needlessly spent on avoidable legal fees and awards of damages to the "second class" people. So rather than get small amounts of money from tourists, they can collect large amounts of taxpayer money from the County.

  8. If they were really that hungry they would eat their pets.

  9. "If they were really that hungry they would eat their pets."

    Noindex -- a better idea -- eat the rich.

    "From people who merely pray we must become people who bless." -- Nietzsche (1883)

  10. This is just another glaring example of the failure of the welfare state. A welfare system based on a combination of an extended family, community, church and secular organizations such as the Rotary, Elks and Masons would of put a lid on this problem 60 years ago. But now, the state has decided to have a monopoly control on the system, in order to insure that these people are not taken advantage of . . . have effectively eliminated an entire list of occupations that would have prevented these people from becoming homeless. From minimum wage to the countless labor laws we have today, all these feel good laws have the singular effect of keeping these good people in the gutter.

  11. I hope it includes that disgusting ten foot snake that some troll drags out to the sidewalk on the weekends. Upset my girlfriend to no end and we have been coming to Vegas for a week every year . Sadly the strip has become a freak show, especially on the weekends. Our friends who live in Henderson, never set foot on it except to valet park. Face it though, with no strip there is no Vegas and the locals should realize that fact.

  12. The rich don't bother me and the homeless don't bother me, except for when they walk between cars on street corners.

  13. I would stop looking for loopholes to get rid of the homeless or panhandlers and just get rid of them already, straight up.

    Once again I can't believe how government officials of the state of Nevada and city of Las Vegas neglect such obvious problems within their main money maker, The Strip.

    If I owned the strip, I'd keep it clean, safe, welcoming and fun. It'd be a place that everyone across the world would want to be to spend their precious money and time. I'd also make damn sure it stayed that way forever. I would defend and come down hard on anyone or anything who would try to disrupt my income generator without asking for permission.

    The great Sam Kinison once said it once "shoot the Homeless! If you can't make it in this country, you wont make it anywhere!"

  14. Yes, because Panhandlers can control themselves but pets can't. My one trip to Europe, with a morning in Brussels brings back a lasting memory.

    Off the City Square, which was clean and presentable for dumb tourists, I spent more time looking down at the sidewalk to keep from stepping in dog crap then looking at the buildings and architecture.

    The critters of the Brussels City Folk, out for a walk, left their meals from the previous day littering the sidewalk. No one wants to step in that stuff.

    Never saw that in England, and never ANYWHERE did I see that in Germany, only in Brussels. I don't want to see it here.

  15. Me and you and a dog named boo traveln' and living off the land.. the part these homeless miss is the living off the land.. I saw 2 people today with thier pit bull begging for money on the walkway to City Center from Monte Carlo. You don't see the guys who hang at Home Depot here, they are looking for work. If you can't feed your self get rid of the dog/cat! I have had many years experiences with homeless peoples and can tell you most have no respect for property and do much damage. Most are simply lazy and living on the street vs working, well, working is work! I do feel for those who are mentally ill that have been put back on the street. Las Vegas, this is an idea in the right direction. For all you boo hoo posters take in some of these people if you feel so sorry for them, I am sure they will love the freebies you can provide.

  16. Are there any ordinances against loitering or panhandling? Obviously tourists will "hang out" (loiter) for a bit here and there, but not in the same spot for hours on end. Can't they be told to move on? A lot of tourists are afraid of the street people, and I wouldn't want my wife crossing those bridges without me. If people quit handing them money, this wouldn't be an issue. How about the Sun send an "undercover" reporter down to the strip to panhandle for a week or so and then do a report on the amount of cash taken in, and the treatment they received from tourists, business owners, police, other panhandlers, etc. on an average day. Might make an interesting story.

  17. While I do see the signs on the pedestrian bridges that do specifically state 'No Loitering', 'No Soliciting', yet, folks act like they cannot read, or even SEE these notices so prominently displayed. I think our Mayor needs to get off her duff and MAYBE institute new programs designed to get these homeless folks off the streets and back on their feet. While I realize there are some that choose to live this way, there are many more who do not. When I see the panhandlers on these bridges with pets in tow? I look at that as simple exploitation, those pets may as well be small children.