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ACTION ALERT: Colorado

As always, YOU MUST BE PROFESSIONAL AND CIVIL WHEN CONTACTING AND SPEAKING TO OFFICIALS!

New laws/regulations may infuriate you, but acting inappropriately will guarantee overreaching laws and lack of cooperation from officials to amend proposals!

DEADLINE TO COMMENT via phone/letter/email: May 23

PUBLIC HEARING May 24 (see below)

WHERE: Colorado state

What: There are proposed rule changes which will affect many herpers and other animal keepers/businesses through the Department of Agriculture under the Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act (PACFA). PACFA is not new, but it will be more actively and broadly enforced than it has been previously. This affects qualifying keepers and breeders of ALL pet/companion animals as enforcement will be much greater than before.

All owners, breeders and businesses with concerns should contact officials now, even if amendments for your species are not currently proposed. Now is the time to propose changes and address problems with the law.

NOTE: Herp keepers were not regulated under PACFA previously, but the proposed changes add definitions so that PACFA will now regulate them. PACFA was enacted in 1994 and already regulates dog, cat, rodent, other mammal, bird and fish breeders, as well as animal-related businesses.

People meeting the definition below will be affected by the new laws:

Small animal and reptile/amphibian (herptile) breeder facility: This means any person or business engaged in the operation of breeding and raising animals, or that transfers more than the number established by the Commissioner (see below). Those who qualify will be considered a "pet animal care facility" and must attain the required license, as well as meet all requirements.

1. Small animals and herps:

a. Rat, mouse, gerbil, and hamster breeders: produce, house, or transfer more than 200 of any combination of these small mammals per year.

b. Rabbit and guinea pig breeders: produce, house, or transfer more than 65 of any combination of these small mammals per year.

c. Hedgehog, chinchilla, ferret, and sugar glider breeders: produce, house, or transfer more than 24 of any combination of these small mammals per year.

d. Reptile and amphibian (herptile) breeders: possess, house, or transfer a total of 8 or more sexually mature female herps per year. [Eight refers to a single species or combination of species, meaning eight adult females total per house/facility and it does not matter if they are bred or not. Someone with 2 adult female leopard geckos, 2 female bearded dragons, 2 female corn snakes and 2 female Greek tortoises would qualify, even if none of them are bred.]

Dogs, cats, birds and rescues:

2. The threshold for shelter and rescue of dogs and cats or any combination of these pet animals: more than 24 transfers per year or more than 15 housed in a central facility.

3. The threshold for shelter or rescue of birds: more than 30 transfers per year or more than 30 housed in a central facility.

4. The threshold for shelter or rescue of ferrets, hedgehogs, chinchillas, and sugar gliders or any combination of these pet animals: more than 24 transfers per year or more than 24 housed in a central facility.

5. The threshold for shelter or rescue of rabbits and guinea pigs or any combination of these pet animals: more than 65 transfers or more than 65 housed in a central facility more than of any combination of these pet animals per year.

6. The threshold for shelter or rescue of mice and rats: more than 100 rats, mice or gerbils housed in a central facility.

7. The threshold for shelter of multiple species in aggregate is more than 50% of the threshold for breeder or shelter definition of 3 or more species housed in a central facility.

Those qualifying to the above numbers must:

  1. Submit an application/renewal for an annual license in the amount of (other license fees found on page 10 HERE);
    • 1. Aquarium $350;
    • 2. Bird Band Fee $17.50;
    • 3. Cat Breeder $300;
    • 4. Bird Breeder $200;
    • 5. Dog Breeder Large Scale Operation $400;
    • 6. Dog Breeder Small Scale Operation $350;
    • 8. Pet Animal Rescue $225;
    • 13. Pet Retail/Wholesale $400;
    • 15. REPTILE/AMPHIBIAN (HERPTILE) BREEDER $225;
    • 16. Small Animal Breeder $350;
    • 17. Uncommon Bird Breeder $275.
  2. Submit an annual report on form(s) furnished by the Commissioner;
  3. Inspections: All PACFA-licensed facilities may be inspected upon application, change or addition of a license category, facility remodel and routinely thereafter, and upon a complaint to the Commissioner or the Department about a particular facility. Only the portions of the facility used as a pet animal facility need meet the requirements of this rule;
  4. Meet all requirements and standards laid out on pages 13-44 of the proposed rule change HERE.

Submit comments via email to christi.lightcap@state.co.us

Mail comments to:

Commissioner's Office
Re: PACFA Rule Changes
305 Interlocken Parkway
Broomfield, CO 80021

Phone: (303) 869-9000

Hearing Details

DATE: May 24, 2016

TIME: 9:30am

LOCATION:

Colorado Department of Agriculture

Big Thompson Conference Room 305

Interlocken Parkway

Broomfield, Colorado 80021

Link with hearing information: www.usark.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/CO-proposed-rule-change-hearing.pdf

Talking Points

  1. Especially regarding reptiles and amphibians, the proposed changes will negatively affect many pet keepers.
  2. The annual fee is extreme for someone who may not breed, sell or profit in any manner from having these animals.
  3. Requiring the same regulations for retail stores and pet owners is unreasonable.
  4. Animal welfare is of highest concern, but those violating animal cruelty laws should be punished, not responsible animal owners.
  5. Please work with reasonable animal keepers and stakeholders to develop a law that focuses resources to the appropriate places, rather than overregulating animal welfare advocates.
  6. Many pet owners will not be able to comply with the long list of requirements and high fees.
  7. I appreciate the Department of Agriculture's previous willingness to help licensees find compliance and hope they continue to only penalize the offenders and not those who are properly caring for animals.
  8. Most herps require far less time to keep responsibly and humanely than mammals and birds. Requiring keepers with so few reptiles or amphibians to maintain an expensive license while being regulated like a retail pet shop is both unjust and irrational.

Sample Letter

Use the above talking points and your own words to write a complete letter.

Submit comments via email to christi.lightcap@state.co.us

Mail comments to:

Commissioner's Office
Re: PACFA Rule Changes
305 Interlocken Parkway
Broomfield, CO 80021

Copy/paste one of these subject lines, or write your own so all emails don't have the same subject line.

  1. PACFA proposed changes
  2. Overreach on some PACFA changes
  3. Misdirected PACFA changes
  4. Focus enforcement for PACFA changes
  5. PACFA should not punish responsible owners

SAMPLE LETTER:

Colorado Department of Agriculture Official,

As a Colorado resident and responsible animal owner, I'd like to share my concern with the proposed changes to the Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act (PACFA). Just as you, I am an animal welfare advocate and believe that all animals should be kept humanely. While PACFA is a great tool to punish animal abusers, I do feel that some of the rule change proposals are overreaching and should be amended. PACFA should indeed be used to punish criminals, but not a suffocating blanket to overregulate responsible keepers. I'm sure that is not the intention so please consider my thoughts.

Many local stakeholders are willing to collaborate and educate officials about these animals to prevent potential unexpected negative consequences. If you listen to those educated about these animals, you'll see that some of the proposals are illogical. A workshop or meeting with stakeholders prior to, and perhaps following, the May public hearing is a good idea. Thank you for your time and consideration on this matter. Have a good day.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME