Apr 26, 2024 - Politics

Attention pet owners: Get smart on these new laws

The Adams County Animal Shelter on April 25, 2017. Photo: Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado has several new laws related to pets, including one that allows for veterinary telehealth appointments. Photo: Seth McConnell/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado's legislative session went to the dogs.

State of play: Three major new bills related to pets and veterinary care are now law and a fourth is on its way.

Why it matters: The collective effect is a litany of new regulations designed to better inform pet owners and crack down on rogue operators.

The latest: A measure to require pet care and boarding facilities to notify all clients about an infectious disease outbreak, such as respiratory illnesses, canine leptospirosis or feline leukemia virus, is poised to go to the governor's desk as early as Friday.

  • State Rep. Leslie Herod (D-Denver) named the bill in honor of her dog, Clinton.

Catch up quick: Gov. Jared Polis, who often carries his dog Gia at political events, signed three bills in recent weeks to stiffen the rules on sterilizing pets brought into Colorado and expand the scope of practice for technicians at veterinary clinics.

Yes, but: The governor objected to a provision in the bill requiring an in-person exam before telehealth services are allowed.

  • "I am concerned that this codification creates additional impediments to veterinary care, especially in rural areas," he wrote in a statement to lawmakers.

Friction point: Two other bills, one requiring state pet registration and a registration fee up to $25 and another to reduce pets euthanized at shelters, failed to advance.

The big picture: The Legislature's focus on the issue reflects that veterinary care is a big-money enterprise, particularly after the pandemic led more people to get a pet.

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