A bill has been introduced in the Colorado House of Representatives that would place further regulations on breeders, and restrict pet choice and consumer protection in the state.
Supporters of House Bill 20-1084, known as the “Humane Pet Act”, are claiming this bill will protect animals in Colorado. However, there are numerous concerns, including:
- False and misleading legislative declarations – The proposal begins with four pages of declarations, or reasons why the bill is necessary. It makes broad claims, including that higher-volume breeders take animals from their mothers too early, resulting in “phobias, spinning, and pacing” (even though selling a dog under 8 weeks is illegal in the state), and targeting the transport of dogs, and sales of dogs at outdoor venues and parking lots (but not including rescue events and transport, where tragic and harmful incidents have occurred in Colorado).
The declarations state the solution to addressing inhumane breeding is, among other provisions, to limit dog ownership and prohibit pet stores from selling dogs and cats (unless they are hosting adoption events and do not profit from the sales).
- Limiting dog ownership – Breeders would not be permitted to keep, house, or maintain more than 25 intact dogs or cats over 6 months of age. The AKC opposes limits on dog ownership, as this number is arbitrary and does not truly address the issue of irresponsible or inhumane ownership or breeding. This will also prove very difficult to enforce.
- Preventing pet stores from selling dogs and cats – All who breed and sell dogs should be concerned with this provision, even if you do not personally source dogs to pet stores. The implication is that should this pass, the state is declaring that the best – and only – place to get a dog is from a shelter/ rescue. It would eliminate the state’s excellent consumer protection laws, as shelters and rescues cannot provide the guarantees necessary for consumer protection. Additionally, it would limit the ability of future pet owners to obtain the type or breed of dog they wish. There are residents in Colorado who may not have access to a local breeder, may not want to be put on a long waiting list, etc., and wish to purchase a dog from a regulated, licensed pet store where they can still get the consumer protection and the health history they desire.
- Ignoring the health issues and dangers that can arise from importing dogs for rescue – AKC is the largest purebred rescue network in the United States, and we are proud that our national breed clubs take great care of the animals that come into their rescues. However, there are rescues and transports that unfortunately do not care as diligently for the animals, and as a result some shelters and rescues in Colorado have been shut down for disease and other violations. This is a significant concern that can impact public health and the health of animals. AKC believes the better solution is strong enforcement of current Colorado laws and regulations for breeders, and regulations on shelters, rescues, and transports to ensure those dogs receive the same level of humane care and oversight.
AKC thanks the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs, who has been working tirelessly at the State Capitol to address the many concerns with this bill. AKC and the federation will continue its outreach and provide more information on action and next steps very soon.