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Exotic animal permit denied by Las Vegas Planning Commission

Exotic animal permit denied by Las Vegas Planning Commission

By Rikki Cheese. CREATED May 14, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Exotic animals in the heart of a busy neighborhood and right by a park where kids play.

Two men want the City of Las Vegas to give them permission to house their tigers, panthers and a lion in a southwest Valley neighborhood.

They may have an uphill battle if the planning commission has it's way.

Tuesday night, planning commissioners voted unanimously to deny the request.

The house on Montessouri near Sahara and Rainbow has had a special use permit for big cats since the 1980s but the permit lapsed in 2008.

Now two entertainers known as the Fercos Brothers want to renew that permit to house their big cats there.

They need an exemption from regulations that require homes and parks to be at least 1,500 feet away. Houses are next door. A park packed with kids almost every day is right across the street.

Planning Commissioner Vicki Quinn left no doubt how she felt about the request. She told the brothers, "In 1976 you were in the middle of the desert. Now you're in the center of town. You need to take your show on the road and go out another hundred miles where you're not around people, around children or around anything else. I wouldn't even zone you for two horses."

Exotic animal owner Tony Fercos replied, "Our animals are not wild, wild animals. They are hand-bred and they stay on the leashes."

However, in 2009 a 400-pound Fercos tiger that was being walked on a leash in a northwest valley neighborhood escaped. It was re-captured without incident and no one was hurt, but people who want to ban all exotic animals in residential neighborhoods say the incident points to a need for restrictions.

The final say on the Fercos Brothers' request is up to the Las Vegas City Council.

Council members are expected to take the matter up when they meet on June 19.

Rikki Cheese

Rikki Cheese

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Rikki Cheese is currently an anchor and reporter for Action News.