Colorado Lawmakers Debate A Bill To Address Pet Overcrowding

Jamiesfeast – Animal rights organizations in Colorado are collaborating to address the issue of overcrowded animal shelters in the state. As these shelters struggle to accommodate the increasing number of animals, these groups are advocating for measures to restrict the sale of puppies and kittens.

State lawmakers are stepping in to offer assistance by considering a bill aimed at bolstering the state’s sterilization law.

As previously reported by CBS News Colorado, there are certain rescue organizations that are finding ways to bypass the law.

Retail rescues or puppy flippers are individuals who import numerous puppies annually from outside the state. Due to a legal loophole, these puppies can be sold immediately upon arrival, without being spayed or neutered.

Although shelters or rescues are prohibited by law from selling or releasing dogs and cats that have not been sterilized, there are certain exceptions in place.

The Commissioner of Agriculture has the authority to exempt sterilization requirements in instances where there is a scarcity of veterinarians in the area. Additionally, a veterinarian has the discretion to grant an exemption if they believe it could adversely affect the animal’s health or put its life at risk.

Animal rights activists argue that certain rescues, along with the assistance of veterinarians, are exploiting the “health” exemption.

According to Elizabeth Coalson from the National Canine Rescue Group, a single rescue in Colorado has received a staggering 2,500 exemptions.

She is one of the people who spoke in favor of a bill that would only let an exemption happen if a vet writes down that the animal’s life is in danger.

The bill doesn’t give any exemptions to facilities that bring in dogs or cats that haven’t been vaccinated.

In the past six years, Coalson says, Colorado’s three largest rescue groups have brought in 25,000 pups.

For every dog that isn’t a spade, about 67,000 puppies are born. “If you do the math for the three rescues we’re talking about, one to three million dogs will be living in Colorado by 2022 if just 2% of them are not spayed or neutered,” she said.

In support of the bill, the Denver Dumb Friends League also spoke out. They said that their shelters had never been so full and that they took in a high number of animals that had not been spayed or neutered last year.

Although there was no opposition to the plan, it is not clear what will happen to it. Sen. Larry Liston, who sponsored the bill, told the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee that Gov. Jared Polis was going to block it if it wasn’t changed to bring back the health exemption for animals that aren’t known to have been brought in from another country.

The democratic chair of the committee told the governor that he should come and speak on the bill if he didn’t agree with it. The committee unanimously approved the bill without making any changes.

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