The 2022 legislative session came to a close on Wednesday, May 12, with bills being debated until the final hours. We are pleased to share that the Dumb Friends League’s priority bills passed earlier in the session and are currently awaiting Gov. Polis’ signature.

This year, the Dumb Friends League led the effort to pass Senate Bill 22-167, which removed the exemption for greyhound breeders in the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act (PACFA). This bill, which passed with broad bipartisan support, will now require Colorado’s greyhound breeders to be held to the same animal welfare standards as all other dog breeders in the state. For more information about this bill, check out our previous Pawlicy Post here.

Additionally, the Dumb Friends League supported the update and repassage of the Colorado Veterinary Practice Act (“the Act”) in House Bill 22-1235. Among other provisions, this bill allows qualified shelter professionals to administer the rabies vaccination under the indirect supervision of a licensed veterinarian, thereby helping the League and other shelters vaccinate pets in their care more efficiently.

The passed version of the Act also includes new registration requirements for veterinary technicians; effective January 1, 2024, all veterinary technicians must register with the State Board of Veterinary Medicine. This addition is expected to benefit veterinary technicians by including them on the Board and creating a state-recognized credentialing program for the profession. There are several ways certified, and non-certified veterinary technicians can become registered in the first year the bill goes into effect, including an experience-based pathway. For more details on the new registration requirements, follow the Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians.

While we support the rabies vaccination and veterinary technician changes in the Act, we were disappointed to see the omission of an important opportunity to create a new career pathway for veterinary professional associates (or “mid-level veterinary practitioners”). Under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian, these veterinary “PAs” would be master’s degree-level professionals who examine, diagnose, perform routine surgeries and prescribe medications, which would expand access to care by increasing the veterinary workforce. Although discouraged by this development, our advocacy team is determined to work with stakeholders over the interim to bring forward this legislation during the next session.

Finally, we proudly supported the passage of House Bill 1041, legislation that will protect the private information of code enforcement officers. The League worked with the Animal Welfare Association of Colorado (AWAC) to ensure that this bill included protections for animal welfare agents and officers with the Bureau of Animal Protection.

Interested in learning more about the League’s legislative agenda? Consider joining our GROWL group! GROWL – which stands for Grassroots Outreach With (the) League – is a wonderful way for our passionate animal welfare community to engage in public policy. Participation in GROWL could include contacting your legislators, writing a letter to the editor, posting on social media, or attending hearings at the Capitol. It is up to you how much time you want to invest, and every little bit counts!