RENO, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — Michael Schneider and Leilani Tau-Schneider, the owners of two puppy stores in Sparks and Reno, were indicted last week on five charges of practicing veterinary medicine without a license and one charge of torturing or killing an animal.
With their two puppy stores, Puppies Plus and Puppy Love, as the last puppy stores in Washoe County, the City of Reno is looking at permanently closing them.
Mayor Hillary Schieve says she doesn’t take these charges lightly and is looking at issuing a moratorium so no one else can open this type of business in Reno.
That will be discussed next week at a Reno city council special meeting at City Hall.
However, this isn’t the first time a puppy store in Reno has been accused of animal abuse and negligence. It brings to light the city and state’s limitations on the regulations for pet retailers and commercial breeders like Puppies Plus.
REGULATIONS ON COMMERCIAL BREEDERS & PET RETAILERS:
In addition to a business license and federal tax ID, every commercial breeder in Washoe County must apply for and obtain a commercial breeding permit from regional animal services.
But after that, there are few limitations on how these businesses should run.
Nevada law requires that all pets sold must be evaluated by a veterinarian, and includes rules regarding the amount of space each pet should have as well as vaccination requirements.
But if a pet retailer is found in violation of many of these laws, the most severe punishment they face is a suspension of their license for a maximum of one year.
They can also face a number of financial punishments, but they typically max out at $1,000.
Currently, both Washoe County Animal Services and the City of Reno have the power to revoke a store’s commercial breeding license. A breeder has 30 days to appeal that decision, but until a district court rules on it, their permit still stands.
No current law limits felons from becoming commercial breeders or forces the closure of a pet store found in violation of animal cruelty laws.
In addition, enforcement on the prevention of animal cruelty is prohibited in Nevada, meaning no member, agent or officer of a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals may enforce animal cruelty laws.
Ultimately, if a pet retailer is under investigation there is currently no Nevada law that says they need to close their doors.
If you’re concerned about how the city and state regulates pet retailers and commercial breeders, you can share your thoughts at next week’s special meeting.
The special meeting to discuss the future of puppy mills in Reno will be next Thursday, September 19, at 6 pm at City Hall.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU WITNESS ANIMAL ABUSE:
If you witness a case of animal abuse/neglect/chaining please report it to Animal Control at (775)322-3647.
Before calling, have the exact address of the abuse case, the party's name if possible and any facts pertinent to the case, including the date, location and time the abuse took place.
Be sure to take photos or video of the abuse/neglect/chaining.