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Governing body may change animal laws

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Posted: Monday, October 8, 2012 8:23 pm | Updated: 9:11 pm, Mon Oct 8, 2012.

Controversial laws that kept pets stores from selling dogs and cats, and stopped planned shows of Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus in Rio Rancho may not be on the books much longer.

The Rio Rancho Governing Body is set to vote on ordinance amendments to that effect during its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 3200 Civic Center Circle.

Some people have complained that the ban on selling cats and dogs at pet stores has forced business out of town.

Also, this summer, the circus moved its show from Santa Ana Star Center to the Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque because the animal ordinance prohibited animal exhibitions from coming into the city if the organization had received a citation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for not providing appropriate veterinary care, food, water, shelter or space or for handling the animals in a way that caused trauma in the last three years. Feld Entertainment Inc., producer of the circus, had been cited and paid a settlement in November 2011, but denied violation of animal welfare laws.

Critics of the laws say they decrease potential gross receipts tax revenue by forcing businesses and events to leave Rio Rancho.

According to city information, the proposed amendments remove requirements that staff of animal exhibitions have no felony convictions and have no citations from the USDA for the last three years, or official notices of alleged violations or settlements with the USDA for the last five years. Also, owners of elephants in such exhibitions wouldn’t need to submit documentation of specific health tests on the animals within the past year, although they would have to allow inspection of animal health records.

For pet stores, the amendments would remove the ban on selling dogs and cats, but add space requirements for areas in which the animals are confined. The changes would also require Rio Rancho Animal Control to conduct random, twice-yearly inspections of professional animal facilities.

In addition, dogs would become subject to the same requirements for sterilization, or permits to be exempt from sterilization, as cats.

The changes must pass a first reading Wednesday and a second reading at another governing body meeting to become law.

In other business, the governing body is set to:

• Vote on the first reading of a new ordinance declaring pigeon droppings and related debris a public nuisance, setting out penalties for feeding and harboring feral pigeons, and stating procedures for cleaning up a pigeon-infested area. Domesticated pigeons and injured pigeons being rehabilitated would still be allowed;

• Vote on a budget adjustment taking into account the impact fee moratorium;

• Discuss a method for choosing a new city manager;

• Hold a public hearing on an ordinance amendment that would allow one more freestanding sign at Hilltop Plaza on NM 528 in southern Rio Rancho, increase the size of the new sign and allow one wall sign per business;

• Vote on disbanding the charter review committee; and

• Establish a meeting schedule for November and December.

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion.


  • DebbieCoyneKummer posted at 12:28 pm on Mon, Oct 15, 2012.

    DebbieCoyneKummer Posts: 0

    I wanted to try and save some Spanish donkeys and bring them to a sanctuary so they could live out happy lives and not get killed but haven't heard a thing out of anyone and probably won't I want to make a difference I just don't think anyone care or wanted to take the time

  • Coolbus71 posted at 12:21 pm on Mon, Oct 15, 2012.

    Coolbus71 Posts: 2

    Thank God that "long standing pet shop" was forced out of business!!! There's a reason to keep this ordinance in place. There are plenty of ways for a pet shop to remain in business without the sale of cats and dogs. Pet Food Gone Wild is a perfect example. They are VERY involved with the rescue groups and their shop is a pleasure to visit. [beam] Chuck Wilkins believes that people should have the right to buy a dog from a pet store that hasn't been through the "trauma" of rescue. Where does he think these dogs come from? Candy land? Seriously, he acts like mills are non existent. It's all an act though, just as it is for the other councilors voting yes. They are simply in it for the cash flow.

  • Rich posted at 11:16 am on Fri, Oct 12, 2012.

    Rich Posts: 3

    You can't buy dogs or cats in Rio Rancho... I believe this was part of the panel that spent a lot of time discussing animal control and issues. I believe we managed to drive one long standing Rio Rancho pet shop out of business. I am a dog lover. I just go somewhere else if I want a specific breed. Our last four dogs while living in Rio Rancho were dogs rescued from other areas...


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