Official State Pet

Senate Bill 13-201, designating shelter dogs and cats as the official Colorado state pets, was signed into law May 13 by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Gov. Hickenlooper brought his own shelter dog, Skye, and his son, Teddy, to the ceremony at the Denver Animal Shelter. The law took effect in August. 

We provided strong testimony in favor of the new law, but it almost wasn’t enough. Relentless pressure against it came from large- and small-scale dog breeders, as well as purebred dog clubs, retailers, groomers and dog-show organizers.

In the end, however, groups like ours, who speak out on behalf of homeless pets, prevailed. This was a victory for kindness and compassion—one that will have long-lasting benefits for Colorado pets and people.

Sen. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) introduced the bill in the Senate; Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) sponsored it in the House. Both Sen. Kerr and Rep. Pettersen received Colorado Voters for Animals endorsements in the 2012 election. They deserve our thanks and our ongoing support.

Shown below is the written testimony we prepared for each member of the House committee prior to the April 24 hearing:

Senate Bill 13-201, “Concerning the designation of dogs and cats that are adopted from Colorado animal shelters and rescues as the state pets,” will be heard in your committee on April 24.

Colorado Voters for Animals urges your affirmative vote. 

This bill is more than a lesson in the legislative process for schoolchildren. It provides an opportunity for our legislature to demonstrate compassion and respect for animals and for people who understand that the values it represents make a better world for all of us. 

The bill sends a strong message—that adopting a shelter or rescue pet (rather than purchasing) is the right thing to do. Adopting saves a life. It’s that simple.

The bill honors the thousands of people across our state who have chosen to adopt their pets from shelters and rescues. It will serve to move prospective pet owners in the same direction, thereby increasing the number of pets placed in good homes and saving community resources.

The bill provides an opportunity to educate the public. More than 170,000 pets enter our state’s shelters and rescues every year. They are lost and alone or abandoned by people they trusted. They are not “broken;” they are not “problems.” They are the victims of circumstances. The vast majority need nothing more than a second chance.  

Please do your part. Vote responsibly to help ensure they get the opportunities they deserve. Thank you.   

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