Rights organizations have banded together to restrict the quantity of puppies and kittens available for purchase in Colorado as shelters for animals fill up around the state.
Legislators in the state are now supporting them, as they are debating a bill that would make the state’s sterilization laws more robust.
As previously reported by CBS News Colorado, certain rescue groups are operating outside of the law.
Every year, hundreds of puppies are imported from out of state by so-called retail rescues or puppy flippers. Due to a legal loophole, these individuals are permitted to sell the puppies as soon as they arrive, before they have had their animals spayed and neutered.
There are several exceptions to the current regulation that forbids shelters and rescues from selling or releasing dogs and cats that haven’t been vaccinated.
If a facility is situated in a location where there is a dearth of veterinarians, the Commissioner of Agriculture may waive sterilization; alternatively, a veterinarian may provide an exemption if they believe sterilization could harm the animal’s health or jeopardize its life.
Animal rights advocates claim that certain dishonest rescues with veterinarian assistance are misusing the “health” exemption.
The National Canine Rescue Group’s Elizabeth Coalson reports that just one Colorado rescue has gotten 2,500 waivers.
She is one of the people who spoke in favor of a law that would only permit an exemption in the event that a veterinarian certifies in writing that the animal’s life is in danger.
Under the measure, facilities importing dogs or cats without first sterilization would not be eligible for any exception.
According to Coalson, during the previous six years, the three largest rescues in Colorado brought in 25,000 puppies.
According to estimates, 67,000 puppies are born for every dog that is not spayed. Thus, if you do the arithmetic for the three rescues we’re talking about in 2022, even 2% of them won’t be sterilized, which means that one to three million dogs will be pets in Colorado,” the speaker stated.
The Denver Dumb Friends League, which stated that its shelters had never been so busy and that it received a record number of unsterilized animals last year, also spoke in favor of the bill.
The bill was not opposed, although it is unclear what will happen to it. The measure’s sponsor, Sen. Larry Liston, informed the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee that Gov. Jared Polis was threatening to reject the bill unless necessary changes were made to reinstate the health exception for animals that are unknown to be imported.
If the governor had concerns about the bill, the democratic chair of the committee advised him to appear and testify. Without making any changes, the committee overwhelmingly approved the bill.