Colorado Residents, please contact your representatives today to oppose Colorado HB 20-1084.
The statements in the legislative declarations of this bill are distortions and half-truths. At worst they represent a systematic misrepresentation of the source of animal-welfare problems in Colorado. If the proposals that flow from these declarations are implemented, they will harm Colorado’s animals and pet buyers and undermine the current trajectory of animal welfare progress in the state
Instead of improving animal welfare standards, the HB 20-1084 regulatory scheme asks lawmakers to restrict or eliminate the most highly regulated source of dogs in the state (commercial dog breeders and pet stores) and swap them for rescue dogs with unknown backgrounds and minimal oversight. These rescue dogs, the preferred source according to this bill, are carried into Colorado from distant states and even foreign countries by unlicensed transporters (34,634 dogs were imported into Colorado in 2018 alone). Their inventory routinely includes an unacceptable number of dangerous and sick dogs that arrive in Colorado with infectious diseases and parasites like heartworm. Some of these illnesses can be transmitted to people and other animals and treating them becomes an unexpected and expensive burden for adoptive families.
The conditions these dogs are shipped in also raise series ethical and animal welfare alarms, with underage puppies (puppies less than 8 weeks of age, the legal age for transport) being shipped into Colorado by the thousands, many as young as 2 weeks of age and younger. The rescues that engage in this type of behavior are called retail rescues for a good reason. What they are doing is no longer rescue, they are essentially tax exempt pet stores that unethically import pets — many with serious problems that are passed on to their new owners. Here are a few facts to consider:
- US citizens acquire 8 million dogs per year. Population increases alone continue to create a growing demand for pet dogs — more than are available currently. This shortage is because there are not enough dogs being bred to keep up with the demand.
- This bill is based on the premise that rescue is the only place to get a dog. In the past rescues provided a place for dogs in our home state needing a new home and through rescues they could find one. Some still do operate on that premise, like those governed by AKC parent clubs, but sadly now they are the exception rather than the rule.
- Aside from the previously mentioned issues with pet health and unethical importation, behavior is also a serious problem.
- One rescue dog from out of state, placed in a foster home, attacked and seriously injured a women caring for it.
- Another rescue placed in a foster home attacked and killed two llama, disemboweling them. The rescue immediately took the dog back, and put it on its website for placement into a home….it just “didn’t like other animals.”
- Another rescue recently in the Colorado Springs area seriously bit a child in the face. The out of state rescue that had adopted the dog out is fighting to not have the dog put down for this attack.
- Colorado’s Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA) program is the finest pet industry and breeder licensing program in the nation.
- This bill would destroy numerous businesses who pay taxes and contribute to their communities around Colorado: pet stores as well as licensed breeders. You cannot have a viable breeding colony for commercial sales with only 25 or less dogs. This narrows your gene pool and is not financially viable with the cost of proper care and housing requirements.
- Kennels who breed for service dogs as well as hunting kennels will be negatively effected by this bill.
Please read NAIA’s letter of opposition to this bill for more information on this serious issue.
HB 20-1084 grossly misrepresents the current state and source of animal welfare problems, and will only make these issues worse. Please oppose this bill!
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