During its meeting March 11, the Colorado Department of Agriculture will field comments from the public on its proposal to modify a state law that regulates pet facilities.
The changes would affect some veterinarians, pet stores, animal wholesalers, grooming and boarding facilities, animal breeders and animal shelters.
The meeting will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Lakewood, Colo., at 700 Kipling St., Ste. 4000 in the Inspection & Consumer Services Division of the Dept. of Agriculture.
The proposal would amend the Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act to require pet “facilities” to apply annually for a license for each of its services that falls under a separate category. For example, if a pet store sells dogs and cats, breeds parrots to stock for sale, offers grooming and pet boarding and some dog obedience classes, it might need to apply for up to a five licenses, all with separate fees.
Stores that strictly sell fish or other aquatic pets – not including reptiles or amphibians – could apply for an aquarium-only license for about $55 cheaper than the general “Pet Retail/Wholesale.”
The Dept. of Agriculture says the fees are necessary to cover costs related to policing the state’s expanding pet industry.
Licenses would be issued in the following categories:
• Pet Retail/Wholesale $280
• Aquarium only $225
• Pet Boarding/Training $280
• Network Pet Boarding Facility $180
• Pet Handler $80
• Pet Grooming $225
• Pet Animal Shelter $280
• Dog Breeder Small Scale Operation $250
• Dog Breeder Large Scale Operation $280
• Cat Breeder $225
• Common Bird Breeder $80
• Uncommon Bird Breeder $180
• Small Animal Breeder $250
• Pet Animal Rescue $80
Licensed facilities would be subject to regular inspections. Some small hobby breeders, circuses, zoos and veterinary facilities that board animals strictly for medical care and do not actively solicit for boarding, are exempt from the new rules.
Extensive species-specific care requirements are also included in the proposal. For example, it would require that all reptile and amphibian enclosures to have enough space to allow a temperature gradient and that they include a “security shelter” for the animal to retreat to when it wants. Birds must also be kept groomed and bird breeders must keep their facilities free of vermin, insects and other pests. Pet facilities must provide 20 minutes of exercise twice a day to dogs housed in crates. Specific care standards also cover cats, mice, chinchillas, rats, rabbits, ferrets and fish. Most notably, facilities must keep each animal in a cage that meets the department’s size specifications.
In a recent Pet Alert on the proposal, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council called some of the enclosure requirements “very vague and unclear.” Other changes were not adequate enough, it said.
“The department’s reasoning behind the habitat substrate restriction for reptiles and amphibians is known to be incorrect,” it said, “and we feel that the proposed spacing guidelines for turtle enclosures may not be sufficient space for some turtles to move freely.”
Additional changes proposed by the Dept. of Agriculture would regulate the transportation of animals; grooming and boarding facility construction and product choice; animal foster care homes; and record keeping.
PIJAC posted a copy of the proposal on its website, along with its Pet Alert.
Posted March 11, 2008, 6:20 p.m., EST