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Proposed bill would ban animal abusers from owning pets

A proposed bill would prohibit Coloradans convicted of an animal cruelty charge from owning animals of any kind for up to 10 years.

DENVER — A state lawmaker wants to stop anyone convicted of animal abuse from owning or living with a pet. 

Rep. Alex Valdez (D-Denver) introduced HB19-1092, which would prohibit anyone who has been convicted of misdemeanor animal cruelty from owning an animal of any kind for up to five years. A person with a felony animal cruelty conviction could face up to a 10 year ban from owning an animal.  

Valdez admits the big question with the bill so far is how it would be enforced. 

“There just really isn't a good way short of creating an animal protection force, which we don't want to do,” Valdez said. “We just want to focus on the first incident, where someone is in our court system and they've committed an act of animal cruelty –  that we're able to not only remove animals from that unsafe situation, but we're able to get them the help they need.”

The proposed legislation would also allow judges to include therapy or anger management classes in the animal cruelty sentence in an effort to prevent further violent crimes. 

The bill goes to the House Judiciary Committee for a hearing on Thursday.

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