04 Mar CVMA testifies in support of Socially Conscious Sheltering bill at state legislature
Originally published: March 4, 2021 | Last updated: March 26, 2021
CVMA testified in support of a bipartisan bill designed to establish standards of care that each animal shelter and animal rescue is required to provide each dog and cat in its custody. CVMA member Dr. Michelle Larsen provided testimony in support of the bill during the House Agriculture, Livestock, and Water hearing on Monday, March 22. The bill passed out of committee on a 10-1 vote.
The bill, HB 1160, Care of Dogs and Cats in Pet Animal Facilities, has been informally dubbed the “Socially Conscious Sheltering” bill. It was originally introduced in the state legislature in 2020 but fell off the legislative radar when the pandemic hit; it was reintroduced during the 2021 legislative session on Wednesday, March 3.
CVMA has signed on in support of the bill along with other organizations including many Colorado animal shelters including the Dumb Friends League. The bill is sponsored by Monica Duran (D), Joann Ginal (D), and Matt Soper (R).
Read CVMA’s testimony as presented by Dr. Larsen below:
The Colorado Veterinary Medical Association strongly supports HB 21-1160, and we encourage the committee to vote in favor of the Care of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Rescues, which creates the “Colorado Socially Conscious Sheltering Act.”
The Colorado Socially Conscious Sheltering Act is significant.
- The bill would amend the PACFA Act and would set minimum standards for the treatment of dogs and cats in shelters and rescues.
- It will help Colorado deliver the best outcomes for all shelter and rescue animals by ensuring that each animal is treated respectfully, does not suffer, and that all healthy and safe animals are adopted.
Every veterinarian, upon entering into veterinary school, takes an oath to protect animal health and welfare, prevent and relieve animal suffering, and to promote public health. Every veterinarian takes this oath.
The commitments we promise – to protect animal health and welfare, to relieve suffering, and to promote public health – these commitments are very well aligned with the fundamental principles of Socially Conscious Sheltering.
In clinics across Colorado, every day veterinarians fulfill our oath and the principles of socially conscious animal communities to create the best outcomes for pets when we:
- Assess animals’ medical and behavioral needs and thoughtfully address those needs
- Provide evidence-based recommendations and professional judgement to pet owners
- Offer customized treatment plans tailored to the needs of each animal
- Share evidence-based knowledge, expertise, and resources on animal behavior
- Enhance and protect the human-animal bond by providing compassionate care for animals, their owners, and the larger community
CVMA is pleased to support legislation and policy like HB 21-1160 that is based on evidence drawn from animal science research and the practice of veterinary medicine.
We urge the committee to vote in favor of HB21-1160, the Colorado Socially Conscious Sheltering Act.
The goal of the bill is to establish standards of care that each animal shelter and animal rescue is required to provide each dog and cat held in its custody. If passed and signed into law, the bill will formally adopt socially conscious animal sheltering principles that ensure:
- Every healthy and safe cat and dog in a shelter is adopted; and
- That the medical and behavioral needs of cats and dogs are appropriately and individually addressed while they are in the care of the shelter.
Nothing in the legislation prohibits the placement of any animal. Instead, it simply mandates the placement of at least every healthy and safe animal. If a pet has a chronic illness, the organization may still choose to place that animal.
The bill stipulates that it is the responsibility of every shelter and rescue to provide a safe, nurturing environment for each pet in their care. Additionally, the bill requires every organization to address the medical and behavioral needs of these vulnerable animals. Every animal must be treated as an individual; the foundation of socially conscious sheltering is creating the best outcomes for Colorado’s pets and communities.
If passed and signed into law, the legislation would make Colorado the first state in the country committed to placing every healthy and safe animal that enters a shelter or rescue.
Click here to read the text of the bill.