Legislation introduced by a Colorado Democrat that would create an online pet registry and establish a tax on all pet animals has been postponed indefinitely.
The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Regina English (D), received intense backlash.
The proposed bill that would have created a pet registration system in Colorado will be postponed at the end of the week.
— Grace Kraemer (@GraceKraemerTV) February 6, 2024
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.
Grassroots works! This government overreach was defeated before it was even heard in its first committee.
— AFP Colorado (@AFPColorado) February 5, 2024
Under the provisions of the bill, a caregiver would have to agree to take on the pet. Pets that were not registered in the system could face a civil penalty of $100 maximum. State Representative Regina English, D - El Paso County, introduced the bill on Jan. 31.
“The idea behind it was to create a pet contingency plan for mainly senior people when they're in crisis or something happens, and they would have that person that would have guardianship over their pet, if something happened. Because we all know that our pet shelters are over capacity," English said. “It would create a safety net for first responders, because with people registering a guardian over their pets, it would also come with a sticker that would identify a certain color to let the first responders knew if there's an aggressive pet in the home.”
English said the idea came from a LifePet.Care pilot study. However, the draft of the bill was not what she envisioned.
“I never would intentionally want a piece of legislation that's going to overburden, over tax, and put the people of Colorado in financial distress," English said. “Quite frankly, it just put the people of Colorado in an uproar.”
"We have been informed that this bill has been pulled by the Sponsor due to overwhelming opposition and hearing about the problems that would be caused! Thank you to everyone who opposed this pet tax and informed legislators about its unjust consequences!" USARK wrote.
USARK previously explained the absurdity of the 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!Advertisement
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.”
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.”