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Colorado Update: Seizure Bill Passes House With Few Amendments

(Friday, March 02, 2012)

The Colorado House of Representatives has passed a measure that would make several changes to the procedures and costs associated with impounding an animal when its owner is charged with neglect, cruelty, or another animal criminal act.

Although several amendments supported by the AKC and the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs were proposed to address concerns with the measure, only one–regarding veterinary care–was approved by the House. The bill now heads to the Colorado Senate. AKC Government Relations continue to provide more detailed information when it becomes available.

Summary:

House Bill 12-1125 would several of the procedures and costs associated with impounding an animal when its owner is charged with neglect, cruelty, or another animal criminal act. These changes include forfeiting all ownership rights if the accused fails to pay "impoundment, care, and provision costs" at any time during the trial.

The AKC strongly supports the humane treatment of dogs and believes that no dog should be kept in circumstances where its needs cannot be adequately fulfilled. The changes in this bill, however, could have detrimental results on animal owners ultimately found "not guilty" or released of charges.

One positive amendment was approved on the House floor that permits the owner, at their own expense, to have their veterinarian examine the animal within 24 hours of the initial seizure, as well as throughout the impoundment. Impound agencies are permitted to provide reasonable medical care as authorized.

Other amendments – including allowing the court to make arrangements for the owner to make periodic payments, requiring that costs be itemized by the impounding agency, and striking the language regarding the forfeiture of ownership rights for failure to pay – were not approved.

For questions or more information, contact the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs at (303) 842-1033 or kharahs@comcast.net, or AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

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