The lives and hard times of dogs: How to keep your pet out of the slammer

Mesquite is nothing if not a pet lover’s town; from Great Danes to Chihuahuas to everything else in between (not to mention cats, fish, and other more exotic pets). Given the great love so many of us have for our pets, I thought few words on keeping our pets (and ourselves) out of trouble would be germane to many of my readers.

First and foremost, what kinds of pets are you allowed to own in Mesquite? The Mesquite Municipal Code requires that pet owners not keep: pigs (including potbellied pigs) unless they have a specific amount of acreage available for the pigs on their property. Additionally, roosters are not allowed. There are also limits on ownership of pigeons. Wild animals are not allowed as pets (sorry all you skunk lovers!) in Mesquite either. Clark County’s restrictions on livestock are significantly less onerous than the City of Mesquite’s which means that if pig farming is your dream, Bunkerville may be a better fit for you. What about “dangerous” dog breeds? Actually, the State of Nevada adopted a law in 2013 that makes it illegal for cities or counties to ban dogs based on their breed alone.

So, now you’ve got your dog (or other pet as the case may be) is there anything else you need to be aware of? First, if you live in a common interest community (i.e. you have an HOA) check your CC&R’s to see if there are restrictions on your ownership of pets. If so, make sure you clear your pet with your board of directors before you do anything else.  Next, make sure not to allow your pet to become a nuisance. Constant barking, yowling, clucking, etc. may get you in trouble with Animal Control, your HOA, (or more likely) both. Finally, make sure you keep your animal leashed at all times while you are outside of your house except at designated leash-free areas even if your animal is well behaved.

Even if you do all these things, take good care of your animal and be careful, there may come a time when an accident occurs because of your pet. Pet owners are expected to act responsibly and reasonably with their pets and, if a judge determines that you were negligent with your animal, you may be ordered to pay damages to a person injured by your pet. This is particularly true for an animal that has a history of attacking or being vicious. If something like this occurs, it is important that you communicate with an attorney as soon as possible.

Hopefully, your pet ownership days are nothing but a delight, you never have to worry about any legal concerns, and you are able to keep your pet our of the slammer (aka the pound). However, if you aren’t so lucky, a good attorney can help you with all your animal’s legal needs.

Clifford Gravett is an attorney with the Virgin Valley law firm of Bingham Snow & Caldwell. He is licensed to practice in Nevada, Arizona and Utah. He can be reached at 702-346-7300, cliff@binghamsnow.com, or 840 Pinnacle Court, Suite 202 in Mesquite.      

 

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