BILL SUMMARY for HB09-1019
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON LOCAL GOVERNMENT
|Votes: View--> ||Action Taken: |
|Moved amendment L.001 (Attachment C). The motion |
Moved an amendment to Page 3, Line 11, strike "BE
Moved to refer Senate Bill 09-1019, as amended, to
|Pass Without Objection|
Pass Without Objection
09:57 AM -- House Bill 09-1019
Representative Peniston, prime sponsor, presented House Bill 09-1019, concerning cat identification law for large cities. She discussed the problem of lost cats not being reunited with their owners, especially in larger cities. She explained that dog owners have stricter licensing requirements, which allow most lost dogs to be retrieved. The bill requires cat owners to ensure that the cat has an acceptable form of identification on or in its body, requires an owner to comply with the cat identification requirement before an impounded cat is released to an owner, and prohibits unauthorized persons from removing a cat's identification. She also explained that the bill only applies to cities with populations over 100,000, permits a city to enforce the identification provisions of the bill, and requires revenue from fines related to violations of the identification provisions to be used by a city for animal-related purposes.
Representative Peniston referred to the legislative declaration and explained that the bill would:
- help facilitate the swift return of lost cats and help to increase overall return-to-owner rates;
- assist animal care and control agencies in carrying out their missions more efficiently;
- allow cities to hold cat owners responsible for their cats;
- reduce the number of unwanted or abandoned cats, reduce cat overpopulation problems, and reduce the costs to cities for euthanizing at-large, abandoned, or unwanted cats;
- encourage cat owners to take full responsibility for their cats' welfare and help owners to further value them;
- provide revenue to cities to offset some of the cost of animal services; and
- help support public health and safety in the control of rabies and other diseases that can be spread by abandoned or unvaccinated, at-large animals.
Emily Stone, representing the Colorado Dumb Friends League, testified in support of the bill and explained that the bill would help reunite lost cats with their owners and reduce the amount of time that shelters keep animals. Ms. Stone discussed problems with pets interacting with wildlife and discussed the health considerations of cats contracting rabies and other diseases. Ms. Stone responded to questions from the committee members, explained that the bill focuses on cities with populations over 100,000, and explained that cat populations are typically larger than dog populations in cities.
Ms. Stone and Representative Peniston addressed questions regarding the definition of ownership in the bill and the requirements of ownership relative to other types of animals. Ms. Stone discussed the need to have a uniform definition of ownership and licensing identification for cats in state law. She discussed the fiscal impact to the larger cities affected by the bill and talked about different ownership and licensing requirements for animals according to specific municipalities. She also explained that cities could raise funds through a reclaim fee could or from decreasing the amount of time cats are impounded.
Ms. Stone discussed the provisions in the law regarding the requirement of collars and tags for identification, rabies vaccination, and municipal licensing in the bill. Ms. Stone and Representative Peniston explained that the bill would only require identification on cats, but additional licensing requirements would be implemented according to each individual city. She talked about the different policies in place by larger cities in the state and explained that the bill was permissive and would not place additional requirements on cities. Ms. Stone explained that the bill would not require new departments in these larger cities, which already have departments for pet control.
Ms. Stone explained the requirement in the bill to register with a national database and responded to questions about ownership disputes over lost pets. She also addressed questions from the committee concerning feral cats and the need for spay and neuter programs, which will be more through licensing requirements.
Dr. Jed Rogers, representing the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, testified in support of the bill, discussed the need for the bill, and introduced his comments for the record (Attachment A). Dr. Rogers explained that return rate for lost cats is only 5 percent and talked about the need for pet identification for cats to increase the chances that they are reunited with their owners. He discussed the animal care and control issues for larger cities and explained that these cities are already dealing with these types of issues and have the resources to implement identification requirements for cats. Dr. Rogers discussed the issue of state and local control for pet control and explained that the bill is permissive and only applies to cities over 100,000.
Mr. Joe Stafford, representing the Colorado Association of Animal Control Officers, testified in support of the bill to protect public health and safety as well as the welfare of cats. Mr. Stafford talked about the success rate of returning cats with identification and discussed the need to verify that rescued cats have been vaccinated. Mr. Stafford addressed questions regarding retaining roaming pets, specifically the cost of catching lost pets and recouping costs from owners.
Ms. Martha Smith, representing the Colorado Federation of Animal Welfare Agencies, testified in support of the bill and submitted information about her agency to the committee (Attachment B). Ms. Smith explained that the bill provides larger cities an additional tool to address the problem of lost cats, but does not place requirements on these cities. Ms. Smith addressed questions regarding chip identification for animals and the pet owner information that is kept on such chips.
Representative Peniston entered closing comments on House Bill 09-1019 and explained prepared amendment L.001 (Attachment C) to the committee members.
|TIME: || 11:14:02 AM|
|MOTION:||Moved to refer Senate Bill 09-1019, as amended, to the Committee of the Whole. The motion passed on a 8-2-1 vote. |
Final YES: 8 NO: 2 EXC: 1 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
The committee adjourned.