Business Closes After County Passes New Animal Regulations

Sierra Aquatics is closing its doors. The business, located on Kietzke Lane, is Reno’s only exotic fish and reptile retailer.

Owner Daniel Gray said it was Washoe County’s new animal regulations that forced him to close. Sierra Aquatics posted its announcement yesterday (January 27, 2018) on Facebook.

“After the recent passing of Washoe County Code 55 and the restrictive laws coming to Washoe County for pet ownership, we have decided to move from the Washoe County area and start new chapters in our lives,” Gray wrote.

He said he attempted to work with the County for four years on the regulations. Gray said his business had a good working relationship with animal services, including taking in animals that the county could not place.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he explained. “We’ve never been cited for anything, we’ve never had an animal escape. We’ve had no issues. I had to have three different licenses — federal, state, and county — as it was.”

Gray said that the new regulations make it cost prohibitive to own exotic animals in Washoe County: “A $30 degu now requires an insurance policy that costs $800 to $1,200 annually. (A degu) is already licensed by the state department of wildlife for $50.”

He added that few insurers in Nevada offer insurance for exotic animals.

Sierra Aquatics received more than 150 supportive comments on Facebook.

“(This) breaks our hearts,” one customer wrote. “Thanks for always taking the time with my son… Your business was always so welcoming to our kids with special needs, and you always took the time to make their trip there fun and welcoming. Our town will miss all of you and your critters. Best of luck in your new adventures.”

Gray said that he is moving out of the county because he owns exotic animals, and members of his family, who worked at the store, are moving out of state.

Photo: Image courtesy of Sierra Aquatics.