Colorado Voters for Animals seeks to build an informed, engaged and powerful constituency. It’s time for all of us to get educated, get organized and get taken seriously.
The Colorado legislative session is right around the corner, and the Capitol is buzzing with activity as legislators prepare their bills. Session officially starts Jan. 8. Here’s a sneak peek at animal protection issues likely to come up:
1) PACFA Sunset: 2014 offers a unique opportunity to revise the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA), which licenses, regulates and inspects breeders, pet stores, shelters and more. This important program has critical gaps that leave countless numbers of pets at risk. The enforcement agency, the Colorado Department of Agriculture, has shown a clear preference toward protecting industry instead of animals. In addition to renewing the Act itself, it’s critical that we fill the gaps and hold the department accountable.
2) Greyhound Racing: Colorado suffers from some serious unfinished business with regard to protecting greyhounds. When the last track closed in 2008, the state’s Racing Division ceased to regulate or inspect greyhound breeding facilities. Records from Florida, where dogs are still raced, indicate dozens of Colorado facilities are breeding racing greyhounds. No one is inspecting these breeders. The Racing Division lost its jurisdiction once racing stopped here. The facilities were explicitly exempted from inspections when the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act was passed, under the assumption they would be inspected by the Racing Division. It’s a gaping loophole that’s been six years (and counting) in the closing. Will this be the year Colorado’s greyhounds are finally given at least the minimal protection that other dogs get?
3) Dairy Cow Tail Docking: Speaking of unfinished business, last session’s bill to ban tail docking was not passed, so the practice remains alive and well in Colorado. The bill’s main proponent, The Humane Society of the United States, doesn’t plan to back down and threatens to take this issue directly to voters by putting it on the November ballot. Time will tell whether this battle takes place in the Legislature or on the ballot, but there’s no doubt the war wages on.
4) Emergency Treatment of Animals: Great minds have come together to create a bill that grants emergency medical technicians the authority to provide pre-veterinary stabilizing care for ill and injured dogs and cats. The bill, requested by the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, will be sponsored by three established humane leaders: Sen. David Balmer (R-Centennial), Rep. Beth McCann (D-Denver) and Rep. Lois Court (D-Denver). Our heroes.
5) Ag Gag (Whistleblower Suppression): Rumors are swirling that Colorado will be the next state to beat down an effort to punish undercover investigators for exposing cruelty at agribusiness facilities. Recently, investigators uncovered horrible treatment of calves at Quahan Cattle Company in Weld County. While officials pressed charges against the abusers, they also charged the investigator. Proponents of ag-gag bills hope to sell us on the notion that the investigators are the actual bad guys. Not buying it.
6) Humane Investigator Authority: Last session, Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) introduced a bill restricting humane investigators’ authority to seize farm animals in cruelty cases. Thanks in large part to the efforts of humane groups like ours, the bill did not pass. We know that farm animals feel pain and terror the same way dogs and cats do and deserve protection from abuse and neglect. In the event this bad bill raises its ugly head again, we’ll be ready.
We promise we’ll be there every step of the way this session, keeping you informed and giving you a chance to take action on important animal protection issues.
That’s why we need your support now more than ever! Will you give $25, $50 or $100 now to help fund our important work? Here’s the link you need in order to make a secure online donation.
Thanks in advance for your support.
Vice President and State Legislative Liaison