At the Legislature: Animal Protection

Several bills dealing with animal protection issues have been introduced so far this Legislative session. They include measures dealing with a variety of subjects, from puppy mills to circus animals.

  • SB20-104 furthers the authority of Animal Protection Agents to conduct investigations and take possession of animals that are suspected victims of cruelty, or are considered to be dangerous. The bill will be heard tomorrow, February 11, in the Senate Local Government Committee.
  • SB20-125 is known as the Traveling Exotic Animal Safety Protection Act. It prohibits the use of exotic animals in circuses, fairs, festivals, and other entertainments. It does not affect livestock in rodeos and stock shows. This bill is scheduled for the Senate Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee on February 13.
  • SB20-142 would make several updates to the Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act, or PACFA, which regulates animal shelters, grooming facilities, pet stores, trainers, breeders, and other pet businesses. The proposed legislation would remove exemptions for facilities that board fewer than three animals; exempt animal shelters that are 501(c)(3) nonprofits; decrease the licensing fee for groomers; and “remov[e] language that prohibits a person from importing or causing to be imported any pet animal for the purpose of sale, resale, trade, or barter by a pet animal facility operator unless the person is licensed.” The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate State, Veterans, & Military Affairs Committee on February 12. For more information on PACFA as it currently stands, see the Colorado Legislative Council’s 2019 Issue Brief and this video from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
  • HB20-1084 was killed in committee. Known as the Humane Pet Act, this legislation sought end puppy and kitten mills by prohibiting the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. The bill was later amended to remove this ban but still require pet stores to treat animals humanely and only obtain animals from state-licensed breeders. It also would have put limits on the number of litters per dog. Despite these concessions, the bill still died in the House Rural Affairs Committee on a 6-5 vote.
  • HB20-1180 seeks to regulate pesticides in order to protect pollinators in Colorado. The House Energy & Environment Committee will hear the bill on March 5.

Another bill pertaining to animals, though not necessarily animal protection, is SB20-078, Dogs on Restaurant Patios. As suggested in the title, this bill will permit pet dogs in restaurants’ outdoor dining areas, with the conditions that the restaurant provide a separate entrance so that the dogs do not pass through indoor dining areas. Dogs are also not allowed on furniture and must be accompanied by a person as well as confined to a leash or carrier. The bill does not require all restaurants to allow dogs if they choose not to do so, and local governments may still make their own laws prohibiting dogs on restaurant patios. This afternoon, the bill passed the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee with a vote of 4-1. It now moves on to the full Senate.

Finally, several more animal protection bills are expected to be introduced this session, including a bill for what is being called “socially conscious sheltering,” and another prohibiting the export of products, such as ivory or certain furs, made from imperiled species.

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