FREMONT COUNTY — Two months after being introduced, the animal shelter bill HB21-1160 sounds much different than its original draft.
“I consider it a pretty good win for the opposition!“ said Doug Rae, the Executive Director of Fremont County's Humane Society and a critic of the bill's original draft.
“The language was incredibly vague and they only talked about saving healthy and safe animals… and that was a problem for me because there’s another factor of animals called treatable animals, and they just need time to chill out and this bill was not going to save those animals," said Rae.
Opposition grew through a Facebook Page, "Opposing Deceptive HB21-1160", highlighting the vague language used, like "safe" and "healthy". The major concerns came mostly from "No Kill" shelters in Colorado, who said the bill would make euthanizing a "treatable animal" too easy.
“We’ve done a lot of listening, made a lot of changes, and with this bill, yes we listened, made amendments… It’s still a great bill," said Monica Duran, one of the representatives who helped draft the bill. Duran says good legislation is "a collaboration".
“We’re all trying to have the best outcome we can for our dogs and cats and shelters and rescues, and how can we be good stewards to other shelters and rescues.“
However, the amendments made to the six different versions of HB21-1160 remove the language of "safe" and "healthy" to include "treatable" animals, as well as disposing of the "socially conscious shelter" language. Many of those opposed to the bill's original draft explained that "socially conscious shelter" is more so a brand of a movement, which "No Kill" shelters do not identify with.
“I don’t even understand the purpose of passing this bill at this point,“ said Rae.
The next step is for the bill to be signed by Governor Jared Polis. You can read the most recently updated version of the bill here.