Lyon County Planning Commission votes to deny tiger preservation center
YERINGTON — The Lyon County Planning Commission unanimously voted on Tuesday to deny an application for a tiger preservation center after concerns were raised about the proposed facility.
It was planned for the center to be located on Bowman Lane in Mason Valley. But the Planning Commission voted 7-0 to deny the application after several residents in the area testified against the application addressing concerns of safety and health.
Another concern was raised after Community Development staff initially recommended approval for the facility until it was discovered the applicants are involved in litigation with their current facility in Oregon.
The Lyon County Planning Commission addressed a Conditional Use Request to establish the animal rescue facility with the primary focus on large cats (such as lions, tigers, leopards, hybrids (tyligers, liligers, etc.), small wild cats (lynx, caracals, Geffroy’s cats, servals, etc.), and other assorted exotic animals (examples would include wolves, wallaroos, and lemurs).
While the main mission is to rescue and rehabilitate exotic animals, the facility planned to also provide rescue and rehabilitation of indigenous species as well. The applicants manage a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization currently licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to operate and maintain such a facility and have 35 years of experience in operating an animal rescue facility for such animals.
But the organization is seeking to relocate in a less congested area in Nevada. The application materials indicate the operation has an unblemished record of care and maintenance of animals, no employees injured, and no animal escapes.
County Manager Jeff Page recommended the Planning Commission either deny or continue the application. He cited the need for input from Nevada Department of Wildlife, Mason Valley Fire Protection District, and the Nevada Department of Agriculture to ensure all public safety and health issues are addressed. He also expressed concern staff has not heard back from the USDA on the applicants’ current status with their permitting process.
The applicant, Bonnie Ringo, expressed concern she wouldn’t have applied for the Conditional Use Permit had she been told the answer would’ve been no. She also complained about an existing facility not meeting the requirements of County Code. County Manager Jeff Page explained that facility was built prior to the code being implemented thus the county has to rely upon USDA to enforce the regulations.
The Board of County Commissioners should hear the application on May 2.