Lions and tigers and bears … in Clovis?

By Jack King

The city of Clovis Planning and Zoning Commission is seeking public comment on a proposed ordinance that would regulate the keeping of exotic animals in Clovis’ city limits.
Commission members tabled consideration of the ordinance Wednesday, saying they need more input from the public on the proposal.
Under the ordinance, “wild or exotic animals” are defined as any animals not normally considered domesticated. They would include, but not be limited to, snakes including racers, boas and pythons; birds including hawks, eagles, ostriches or emus; and mammals including cougars or ocelots, wolves, coyotes or dingoes, weasels, mink or badgers, monkeys or chimpanzees, antelope, deer or camels.
An exception would be made for zoos, veterinary hospitals, humane societies, shelters, public laboratories, circuses, sideshows and scientific or educational facilities.
Anyone wishing to keep an exotic animal would have to apply to the city manager for a permit. The keeper would have to show that the animal was healthy and that facilities where it was kept met guidelines for space, ventilation, temperature control and sanitation.
In addition, the keeper would pay $25 for the initial permit — per species of exotic animal being kept — then $10 a year to renew the permits, the commissioners said.
Commissioner Bill Bollinger said state statutes already prohibit keeping some animals on the city’s list.
“The question is do we really need this or does the state handle it?” he said. “Are we going to spend a lot of the city’s resources going into people’s homes and hunting for little ferrets?”
Commissioner Chairman Tom Martin said the commission first considered the need for an exotic animals ordinance when it was discussing whether to ban camels and llamas from the city limits, but there already is a city ordinance that governs the keeping of livestock in city limits.
Both Bollinger and Martin said they want to hear from city animal control personnel about whether enforcing an exotic animal ordinance would be a burden.
Planning and Zoning Administrator Louis Gordon said he has checked with the cities of Bloomfield, Roswell and Albuquerque. Personnel there said they have had no trouble as a result of their ordinances.
Those wishing to get a copy of the draft ordinance can telephone Gordon at 763-9639, or e-mail him at
lgordon@cityofclovis.org