A Colorado House committee this week killed legislation that would have clamped down on pet breeders who allegedly run mills to ensure high breeding rates and sell more pets.
The proposal, dubbed the Humane Pet Act, sparked concern among members of the breeding and pet store retail industries. After several hours of testimony in the House Committee on Rural Affairs and Agriculture Monday from a variety of special interest groups and stakeholders, the bill was postponed indefinitely.
State Rep. Monica Duran, D-Wheat Ridge, served as the prime sponsor in the House behind House Bill 1084.
One of the central criticisms of the bill emphasized the so-called "lack of science" behind the policies that HB 1084 would implement, opponents said.
Under the act, inhumane animal breeding tactics and the retail sale of dogs and cats would have been prohibited across Colorado. The bill also would have established standards for the care and treatment of dogs and cats by breeders.
For instance, the bill would have capped the amount of dogs and cats that could be bred in a single breeding facility, how many times animals could be bred in a lifetime, and required retired breeding dogs and cats to be adopted to new homes.
Jackie Christakos, president-elect of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), objected to the bill during the official testimony phase. She said that the breeding caps proposed in HB 1084 could impact the health of an animal and the individual needs of each pet.
"The quality of care is the factor that is essential to the health and welfare of the animals, not necessarily the number of animals housed at a particular facility," Christakos said.
Rep. Duran responded to concerns saying the legislation was an urgent proposal to bolster animal welfare in the state.
“The goals of this bill are and always have been to ensure Colorado does not support cruel puppy mills and to protect Coloradans from the heartbreak and financial cost that often result from buying a puppy mill puppy," Duran said in a statement.
The concerns of industry members joined in concert with other groups like CVMA.
"This will put small businesses out of business," argued State Rep. Rod Pelton, R-Cheyenne Wells. He went on to accuse Colorado of being "no longer a business-friendly state."