FAQs: CO SB20-164 – Treatment of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Rescues

FAQs: CO SB20-164 – Treatment of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Rescues

Here at CVMA, we’re dedicated to working on behalf of veterinary professionals in Colorado to protect and advance the practice of veterinary medicine. Part of that important mission is  translating current bills in the Colorado State Legislature to help veterinarians understand how legislation might impact veterinary medicine or animal welfare in Colorado. Check out our FAQs below on CO SB20-164 – Treatment of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Rescues.

FAQs: CO SB20-164 – Treatment of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Rescues

What is the background on this bill?

This bill was introduced in the Colorado State Legislature on February 12, 2020. At a high level, this bill creates the Socially Conscious Sheltering Act, which amends the PACFA Act and sets the standard of care that each shelter or rescue is required to provide dogs and cats held in its custody. The bill also requires each shelter or rescue to adopt out every dog and cat, return the animal to its owner, or transfer it to another shelter or rescue if the dog or cat:

  1. Exhibits no signs of illness or injury or exhibits signs of illness or injury for which there is a realistic prognosis for a high quality life.
  2. Demonstrates a willingness to interact socially with humans, and
  3. Has not exhibited behavior that is likely to result in bodily injury or death to another animal or human being.

Sponsors: Sen. Ginal (D-Larimer), Sen. Fields (D-Arapahoe), Rep. Duran (D-Jefferson), Rep. Valdez (D-Denver)

How would this legislation impact me as a veterinarian?

If passed, this bill has little direct impact on veterinarians; the larger impact is on animal welfare. This bill will help Colorado deliver the best outcomes for all shelter and rescue animals by ensuring each animal is treated respectfully as an individual, does not suffer, and that all healthy, safe, and social animals are adopted.

What is CVMA’s position on this bill?

CVMA supports SB20-164 – Treatment of Dogs and Cats in Shelters and Rescues. In 2019, the CVMA Board of Directors adopted a position statement in support of the concept of the Socially Conscious Animal Community movement. The statement acknowledged the importance of striving to create the best outcomes for all animals by treating them respectfully and alleviating suffering.

How is CVMA working at the state capitol regarding this bill?

CVMA 2019-2020 president Dr. Stacee Santi testified on behalf of CVMA in support of the bill during a Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee meeting on February 20. Read the full testimony from Dr. Santi here. CVMA plans to attend additional hearings at the state capitol on this bill.

Where can I go to get status updates on where the bill is currently in the legislative process?

Visit the CVMA bill tracker to see more details on this bill, including the full text, current status, and associated documents.

How can I get involved with CVMA’s legislative and advocacy efforts?

CVMA is always looking for members who want to get involved with helping craft CVMA’s position on bills and testify on behalf of CVMA at the legislature. Email CVMA CEO Diane Matt (dianematt@colovma.org) to find out how you can help.



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