A Democrat legislator in the Colorado General Assembly has introduced legislation that establishes a new tax on every pet animal in the state.

The bill, called the ‘Pet Animal Registration Act,’ establishes the “pet animal registration enterprise in the department of agriculture to provide business services to pet animal owners who pay pet registration fees to the enterprise.”

Under the legislation, pet owners must register their pet in the system and pay an annual fee between $8.50 to $25 for each pet.

“A pet animal owner must register the pet animal in the system annually for a fee set by the enterprise, which must be no more than $8.50 annually per pet animal with a designated caregiver, $16 annually per pet animal that is a dog or cat that is not neutered or spayed and has a designated caregiver, and $25 annually per pet animal without a designated caregiver,” a summary of the bill reads.

“The fee set by the enterprise is in addition to any pet registration or licensing fee assessed by any other jurisdiction. The enterprise will collect both state and local fees and transmit any fee levied by another jurisdiction to that jurisdiction and the fee levied by the state to the newly created pet animal registration cash fund. The state’s fee will be used to develop, implement, maintain, and administer the system and reimburse animal shelters for the cost of taking custody of a pet animal for which a caregiver cannot be located or has refused to take custody,” it continued.

Democrat state Rep. Regina English introduced HB24-1163.

More from the ‘Pet Animal Registration Act’ bill summary:

The bill also requires a pet animal owner to designate a caregiver for the owner’s pet animal. The caregiver is responsible for the care and safekeeping of the pet animal during an emergency that incapacitates the pet animal owner. First responders will use the system to identify the designated caregiver of the pet animal and notify the caregiver of the incapacitation of the pet animal’s owner. A caregiver must agree to be responsible for the pet animal. If a caregiver later refuses to take custody of the pet animal or cannot be located, a first responder will place the pet animal in an animal shelter. Only first responders and the department of public health and environment are allowed to use the system.

The bill specifies that to own a pet animal without registering the pet animal; to refuse or fail to comply with the provisions of the bill; to make a material misstatement in a registration application, a registration renewal application, or to the department of agriculture; or to refuse or fail to comply with any rules or regulations adopted by the commissioner is unlawful. An unlawful act is punishable by a civil penalty in an amount set by the commissioner but not to exceed $100 per unlawful act. If the commissioner is unable to collect the civil penalty, the commissioner may sue to recover the civil penalty or refuse to renew a registration.

USARK summarized the madness of the proposed legislation:

To summarize how outrageous that is, if someone has 100 aquarium fish or koi in a water garden, they could be paying $850 annually to have those fish. If you do not register a “designated caregiver” with the State that means having 100 aquarium fish will cost you $2,500 annually! Ten pet reptiles will cost $85 to $250 annually. 20 assorted pets (dog, cat, hamster, parakeet, tarantula, 2 snakes, three frogs, and 10 fish) would be $170 to $500 each year for this new tax. This tax would apply to all “pet animals.” A child with an ant farm (ants are invertebrates)… get ready to pay big for those pet ants, parents!

The new “online pet animal registration system” will be created and maintained by the Department of Agriculture. The penalty for not registering your animals is up to $100 per animal (“per unlawful act or violation”). If a good citizen is unaware of this new law, those 100 unregistered aquarium or water garden fish could cost $10,000 in fines!

Per the bill, “pet animal” means: A DOG, CAT, RABBIT, GUINEA PIG, HAMSTER, MOUSE, RAT, GERBIL, FERRET, BIRD, FISH, REPTILE, AMPHIBIAN, INVERTEBRATE, OR ANY OTHER SPECIES OF WILD OR DOMESTIC OR HYBRID ANIMAL SIX MONTHS OF AGE OR OLDER, THAT IS SOLD, TRANSFERRED, OR RETAINED FOR THE PURPOSE OF BEING KEPT AS A HOUSEHOLD PET.

The bill does not state any exemption for Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act (PACFA) Program registered animal breeders/sellers. So the tax could apply to each animal in those facilities that is over six months old. However, those animals under PACFA should not be included since the definition of “pet animal” includes the text, “THAT IS SOLD, TRANSFERRED, OR RETAINED FOR THE PURPOSE OF BEING KEPT AS A HOUSEHOLD PET.”

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The only animals exempt are “livestock”: COW, HORSE, MULE, BURRO, SHEEP, POULTRY, SWINE, LLAMA, OR GOAT, other working animals on a farm or ranch, and animals raised for “food or fiber production.”

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