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  • Writer's pictureDerek Headley

The Importance of the Pet-Owner Bond, Help Ease Pet Restrictions in Colorado

Updated: Mar 25, 2023


Most pet owners consider their pet to be more than that, they are part of the family. Now, imagine having to move residences and being forced to make the decision to abandon a family member due to financial constraints, policies that target specific groups of family members, or simply because your family member flat out isn't welcome.

This is the unfortunate reality many families face across the country everyday. Whether a family is looking to purchase a home or rent somewhere, they face a vast array of barricades to overcome in order to keep their entire family together. There are policies placing restrictions on how many pets you can own, what size pets you can have, what type or breeds of pets are allowed, and those are just some of the discriminatory ones not taking into account the other policies if you find somewhere accepting of all your family members that impose steep financial burdens with outrageous deposits, additional rent, and insurance premiums. This puts a huge hardship on low income households especially.

Some law makers in Colorado are acknowledging the struggles pet owners face finding affordable pet friendly housing, and the importance of keeping the pet-owner bond intact because of the many benefits to both parties. They are considering a bill that would help remove some of the current obstructions in place impeding pet owners from finding affordable, accepting homes for their whole family, and you have the opportunity to help advance the bill which would accomplish this.

So What is HB23-1068?

According to the Colorado General Assembly, below is an overview of what the bill will do:
"Concerning pet animal ownership in housing, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting restrictions on dog breeds for obtaining homeowner's insurance, providing for the manner in which pet animals are handled when a writ of restitution is executed, limiting security deposits and rent for pet animals, and excluding pet animals from personal property liens." - source

Why is pet friendly housing important?

There are many ways passing this bill has positive impacts on pet owners, landlords, and tax payers.

Abandonment of Pets

This unfortunately doesn't always end up in surrendering a pet to a good family and therefore can result in negative outcomes for the pet and financially for the local governments. This bill eases the financial burden of pet owners seeking homes making it more likely they find affordable, pet friendly housing, and less likely they end up releasing their pet out in the open or taking them to shelters trying to do the right thing. Nearly 20% of Colorado households adopted a pet in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, since then dog surrenders are up 15% higher than prior to the pandemic, and the number of incoming stray dogs has increased by 41% at Dumb Friends League shelters in Colorado. The shelters took in more than 1,100 animals in March of last year alone.

Abandonment can result in pets becoming strays

  • If not neutered or spayed this potentially leads to an increase in the stray population and any possible disease or infections the strays may carry

  • If abandoned and alone, former pets become scared putting them in defense mode and might become aggressive towards perceived threats resulting in attacks

  • Unfortunately, pets are used to being homed and fed, as well as not needing to their guard up against potential dangers, but if left in the streets to fend for themselves they are not set up to survive

Mental Well Being of Pet Owners

There are so many studies out there that both prove and disprove the theory of a link between being a pet owner and better mental health. In my personal opinion, there are far too many variables and factors going into the results of those studies it's truly hard to believe any of the results as scientifically true. What I can tell you are my feelings on the subject based on my own experiences and observations, which is I can slow down and get to a much more relaxed state just by petting my dogs, they have a way of sensing my mood and doing simple little things to help ease me into a better place in my mind. There seems to be a general understanding of the link between pets and their owners mental wellness since we allow emotional support animals to have access where other animals are not allowed.

Better Mental Health

  • Prevents unfortunate outcomes of people suffering from depression and anxiety (addictions, suicides, etc.)

  • Mental health is not given enough focus right now as a true threat to the well being of people in this country by insurance companies specifically. This results in conditions going untreated, especially by under insured and lower income families.

  • Having pets helps to combat loneliness among those people who live alone, especially in certain situations such as the lock downs during the pandemic when a lot of people weren't getting the normal socialization they're used to

Physical Health of Pet Owners

Sometimes as humans we need a little nudge to help us do the things we need to ensure our own health and well being is getting managed.

Exercise is Essential to Good Health
  • Having pets encourages their owners to get outside more which allows them to get some fresh air and increased oxygen, instead of whatever is continuously cycling through their home

  • Pets create the need for bodily motion in humans, whether it's taking the dog on a walk or to the park, playing fetch, or just choosing to go on a bike ride or jog because you have a companion to keep you company

This bill is a win all around for everyone

Law makers have thought this through and taken into consideration all parties impacted by the issue as it currently stands as well as this resolution. While helping ensure pet families can stay together by providing needed restrictions where pet owners are being taken advantage of and discriminated against, it also has contingencies in place to help protect landlords against financial impacts of damaged property from pets.

Take action to help the people and pets in Colorado, join forces with the ASPCA, Representative Alex Valdez and Senator Faith Winter (Prime Sponsors) to advance this bill and help it become a reality for the pet families of the state.


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