At the Dumb Friends League and Colorado Humane Society, animal protection is one of our top priorities, so we were encouraged when Governor Polis declared the week of May 1 through May 7 as “Colorado Animal Protection Week.”
We dedicate every week to animal protection, and Colorado has some of the best animal protection laws in the country. However, our animal protection agent’s ability to enforce these protections for neglected and abused animals has been limited as a result of a confusing construal of the animal protection laws at the state level.
The current interpretation of the rights and duties of a Bureau of Animal Protection (BAP) agent is confusing and limits their authority to “assessing and inspecting” a situation but draws an ambiguous line at “investigating”. This ambiguity leaves agents unclear on how far their authority goes and requires them to engage local law enforcement who may or may not be able to assist them in a timely manner.
This uncertainty has also left BAP agents without the ability to investigate and enforce state animal cruelty laws under the criminal code, resulting in offenders not being prosecuted to fullest degree. For these reasons and more, Animal Protection Week is a great opportunity to talk about how we can improve Colorado’s animal protection laws by passing Senate Bill 20-104, Powers of Bureau of Animal Protection Agents.
Senate Bill 20-104 will explicitly allow BAP agents to investigate and impound animals in both criminal and civil cruelty and neglect cases. This small, but critical change in the statute will make a huge difference in the lives of animals across the state.
What better time than Colorado Animal Protection Week to reach out to your Legislator and ask them to support Senate Bill 20-104? Reach out to your state Legislator* today!
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