2021 Colorado legislative recap

2021 Colorado legislative recap

The 2021 Colorado legislative session wrapped up on June 8, 2021. One of the most vital and impactful things CVMA does is track legislative activity and advocate on behalf of the veterinary profession in Colorado.

Here’s what veterinarians need to know about what happened during the 2021 legislative session.

Socially conscious sheltering

HB 1160 – Care of Dogs and Cats in Pet Animal Facilities (informally dubbed the “socially conscious sheltering” bill), was passed and signed into law by the governor on May 21, 2021. The bill specifies the standard of care that each animal shelter and pet animal rescue is required to provide each dog and cat held in its custody, and requires medical and behavioral care for cats and dogs in shelters and rescues. The bill passed with 65% of legislators voting in support.

The bill was championed by the Dumb Friends League and supported by both CVMA and the Animal Welfare Association of Colorado. CVMA testified in support of the bill several times, both in 2020 when the legislation was originally introduced as well as during the 2021 legislative session when the bill was reintroduced following a COVID-19 recess.

Pet store consumer protection

HB 1102 – Consumer Protection for Dog and Cat Purchasers, was passed and signed into law by the governor on May 1, 2021. The bill creates the Pet Store Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits a pet store that was not licensed by the agriculture commissioner prior to the effective date of the bill from selling or offering to sell dogs or cats on or after the effective date of the bill. The bill also requires each pet store licensed to sell or offer to sell dogs or cats to:

  • Include purchase price and any applicable federal or state license numbers for the breeder on all advertisements including website postings
  • Post the price and breeder information on each dog and cat’s enclosure
  • Make written disclosures to a prospective consumer prior to selling a dog or cat

Traveling exotic animals

SB 135 – Prohibit Certain Animals in Traveling Animal Act, was passed and signed into law by the governor on May 14, 2021. The bill creates the Traveling Animal Protection Act, which prohibits the use of certain animals in a traveling animal act. The act bans animals such as big cats, bears, nonhuman primates, elephants, and others in entertainment performances in circuses and traveling shows. The bill excludes exhibition of these animals in venues such as wildlife sanctuaries and accredited zoos and aquariums. Violations of the act are classified as misdemeanors; fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 per violation will be applied for violations.

Upcoming legislative issues

Wondering what is going on with Ballot Initiative 16, the PAUSE Initiative? PAUSE was a citizen-initiated ballot initiative that would have appeared on the 2022 Colorado ballot. On June 21, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling against PAUSE. CVMA opposed PAUSE and worked to get the word out to the public via media appearances. Click here to read the latest on PAUSE.