Governor Hickenlooper signs bill to protect animals from abuse and return impounded pets to innocent owners
Senator Steadman looks on as Governor Hickenlooper signs House Bill 1125 into law
DENVER─ Today, Governor John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 1125 sponsored by Senator Pat Steadman (D-Denver) and Rep. Robert Ramirez (R-Westminster). HB 1125 seeks to return animals to the innocent and protect them from abusers by clarifying court procedures when an animal has been impounded due to cruelty or neglect.
Senator Steadman offered the following comment on the signing of Senate Bill 1125 today:
“We should be taking all necessary steps to help animals suffering from neglect or abuse. If animal owners are failing to care for their pets then we should find loving homes for them elsewhere. Returning animals to the innocent and protecting them from abusers is the goal of HB 1125, and I’m glad we were able to get it passed this year.”
Under current law, while an owner is awaiting trial for animal cruelty, the animal is placed in the care of a shelter. The procedures for owners to pay for the cost of care are unclear and tend to vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, especially if the owner wants to contest whether there was probable cause to impound the animal or challenge the proposed costs of care. In addition, timelines for these procedures don’t favor speedy resolutions of disputes.
HB 1125 codifies the procedure for when and how an owner may challenge the impoundment of an animal and its costs. This is important because in cases where the owner does not pay the costs, the animal shelter may allow the animal to be adopted after a certain point in time. If the owner wants their animal back and they have not been found not guilty of a crime, HB 1125 outlines specific steps to enable the animal’s return. If the owner is found guilty, the court may order forfeiture of the animal so it is not returned to an abusive owner.