The state of Colorado takes animal rights seriously and has strict laws in place to protect them from cruelty and neglect. According to Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-9-202, it is illegal to abuse, neglect, or abandon an animal for which you have a personal responsibility. A conviction can lead to up to 18 months in jail or imprisonment for a first offense. If the owner of the animal is unknown, the seizure agency must publish a notice of sale of the animal in a newspaper with general circulation in the jurisdiction where the animal was found.
In addition, the notice must be published in a place provided with public notices in the jurisdiction where the sale will take place, at least five days before the sale. Any fines collected pursuant to section 18-9-204 will be transmitted to the state treasurer, who will then transmit it to the county where the violation was committed. The money will be deposited into the general fund and used for the care of the animals involved in the violation, if necessary. If not required, it can be used for any other legal purpose.
The state treasurer may also invest any money in the fund that has not been spent for purposes of this section, as provided by law. Before a dangerous dog receives any service or treatment, its owner must notify in writing any provider of the service or treatment that the dog has been convicted for violating this section. If the offense is a felony in violation of subsection (1) of this section, a felony in violation of subsection (b) (II) of this section, or any other violation of this section that demonstrates the knowingly torture or torment of an animal that unnecessarily injured, mutilated, or killed the animal, then a thorough evaluation must be conducted to help determine the causative factors. In cases involving companion animals, if such animal is not cared for by a person other than an agent or official of the office or a law enforcement officer or a veterinarian within seventy-two hours of notification being published, then it will be presumed that the animal has been abandoned in circumstances where its life or health is in danger. Anyone who reports an alleged incident of cruelty to animals, service animals or certified police working dogs or horses to a local law enforcement agency or to the state animal protection office is immune from civil liability for reporting such incident. Nothing in this part 2 shall affect accepted livestock practices used by any person in the care of companion animals or livestock or in the extermination of undesirable pests as defined in articles 7, 10 and 43 of Title 35, C.If an animal is injured or destroyed due to cruelty or neglect, then its owner must pay costs equal to its fair market value or replacement cost on the date before it was injured or destroyed plus any reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred to treat it and any actual costs incurred to replace it. In such cases, no irreparable injury or insufficient legal remedy needs to be alleged or proven by the commissioner. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit municipalities from adopting standards or laws for controlling dangerous dogs as long as they do not regulate them in a breed-specific manner. It also does not prohibit training animals or using equipment for training purposes as long as it is not prohibited by law.
The state of Colorado does not take animal rights lightly and actively enforces its animal protection laws. Injecting, using, or administering any medication that is prohibited by federal, state, or local law is also illegal. Animal cruelty and neglect are serious offenses that can have serious consequences. It's important for pet owners and those who work with animals to understand their rights and responsibilities under Colorado law.
This guide provides an overview of Colorado's laws on animal cruelty and neglect so that you can ensure your pet's safety and well-being.