Pat’s story: How regulators harm the Las Vegas Zoo

Kyle Gillis

Pat Dingle has owned the nonprofit Las Vegas Zoo for 32 years, but new government regulations have created a business environment Dingle says he “never imagined.”

“We have five openings in various categories–we’re two zoo keepers short–but we can’t afford to hire anybody,” says Dingle, “because we have to keep paying government or pay fighting government.”

In the past 18 months, local government entities such as the City of Las Vegas, Nevada OSHA, and the Department of Labor have fined the zoo as much as $50,000 for citations such as using a three-prong adaptor. Nevada OSHA also demanded to write the zoo’s policies, even though the assistant district managed admitted he’d “never so much as owned a dog.”

“It’s not government working for people or protecting people,” said Shan Davis, an attorney representing the zoo. “It’s the bureaucracy, in my mind, tying the hands of a local business.”

Last week, the Nevada Policy Research Institute, which publishes Nevada Journal, released a study on economic development, The Path to Sustainable Prosperity, which details steps Nevada needs to take to encourage entrepreneurs like Pat. The study is available at

Kyle Gillis is a reporter for Nevada Journal, a publication of the Nevada Policy Research Institute. For more in-depth reporting, visit and