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As story of abused Michigan dog goes viral, a look at Colorado's animal abuse laws

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Posted at 4:01 PM, Jan 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-19 18:04:15-05

DENVER – As a story about a dog that showed up to a Michigan humane society with its nose, ears and tail cut off goes viral, Denver7 took a look at the possible penalties the person would face had the abuse happened in Colorado.

The Michigan dog was a Rottweiler that was brought in to the Michigan Humane Society with the extreme signs of abuse. The dog also had cuts to the backs of his legs.

The dog has since been named "Baron," and is receiving treatment:

In Colorado, there are handful of penalties people who abuse animals can face that depend on the nature and severity of the abuse.

There are laws against animal cruelty, aggravated animal cruelty and animal fighting in the state.

Colorado statute lays them out as follows:

  •  A person commits cruelty to animals if he or she knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence overdrives, overloads, overworks, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, unnecessarily or cruelly beats, allows to be housed in a manner that results in chronic or repeated serious physical harm, carries or confines in or upon any vehicles in a cruel or reckless manner, or otherwise mistreats or neglects any animal.  
  • A person commits aggravated cruelty to animals if he or she knowingly tortures, needlessly mutilates, or needlessly kills an animal.
  • Animal fighting:
  • (b) For the purposes of this section, a person encourages a fight between animals for the purpose of monetary gain or entertainment if he or she:
  • (I) Is knowingly present at or wagers on such a fight;
  • (II) Owns, trains, transports, possesses, breeds, sells, transfers, or equips an animal with the intent that such animal will be engaged in such a fight;
  • (III) Knowingly allows any such fight to occur on any property owned or controlled by him;
  • (IV) Knowingly allows any animal used for such a fight to be kept, boarded, housed, or trained on, or transported in, any property owned or controlled by him;
  • (V) Knowingly uses any means of communication for the purpose of promoting such a fight; or
  • (VI) Knowingly possesses any animal used for such a fight or any device intended to enhance the animal's fighting ability.

Cruelty to animals is a class 1 misdemeanor in Colorado and is punishable by between 6 and 18 months in jail, a fine of between $500 and $5,000, or both.

Aggravated cruelty to animals is a class 6 felony, which is punishable by between 12 and 18 months in jail, but up to 3 years in “exceptional circumstances.” It carries a year of mandatory parole and a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000.

Animal fighting is a class 5 felony punishable by a mandatory fine of $1,000, but up to $100,000 and also carries a likely sentence of between a year and 3 years in jail, but up to 6 years under “exceptional circumstances.”

The Dumb Friends League and Crime Stoppers investigate alleged animal abuse and neglect. You can find more information on what to report and how to report by clicking here.

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