BaxterBoo Blog
May 14, 2013

Denver Dogs (and Cats) Win Landmark Legislative Acts

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We've been hesitant to cover some of the horrible stories that have happened in recent years between police misreading and mistreating dogs in the Denver area. After all, how could these things be happening near BaxterBoo's own backyard? I mean, we're practically the Disneyland of Dogdom here, so it just didn't compute. 

But now dogs (and cats) are finally having their day. Two new bills were passed to make life a little sweeter in the state that already boasts one of the highest lifespans in the country for dogs and cats.

Colorado's Official State Pets

As of May 13, shelter dogs and cats are now Colorado’s official state pet. Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill while accompanied by his dog, Skye, making the designation on Monday morning at Denver’s animal shelter. Skye, who is pictured above on the capitol steps, is a former shelter dog. This bill was introduced by school children learning about the legislative process.

There was mild controversy associated with the passage as detractors were concerned that the designation would create business transactions, and that some of the shelter dogs and cats are possibly not even from Colorado. But Hickenlooper said at the signing ceremony that “these pets become a huge part of people’s lives.”

New training for law enforcement for dealing with dogs

Gov. Hickenlooper also signed a bill into law Monday that requires new training for Colorado law enforcement officers on how to safely handle dog encounters in the line of duty. The change was inspired by dog lovers worried about recent deadly pet shootings by authorities where the owners insisted their furry companions did not pose a threat to law enforcement. 

The measure requires sheriff and police departments to offer three hours of online training on how to recognize dog behaviors and employ nonlethal methods to control the animals. The legislation also directs law enforcement to allow dog owners the option to control or remove their dogs during a nonviolent call. 

“The idea here is to keep officers and animals safe,” Hickenlooper said. Skye, the governor's Akita-bulldog-chow chow mix, was present for this bill's signing as well.

Photo of Skye on the capitol steps tweeted by Eli Stokols.

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