DENVER — A bill aims to limit the number of businesses that sell cats and dogs.
House Bill 1102 was introduced on Monday and led to a hearing that lasted more than four hours.
Jens Larsen, the owner of Perfect Pets in Centennial, says the bill is the latest attack on small pet store owners selling cats and dogs.
“Last year we fought a bill that was trying to close all pets stores from selling dogs and cats,” Larsen said. “Now, this year, we’re facing another bill that, in my opinion, is pretty much just trying to do the same thing — put us out of business.”
The legislation would prevent any new stores from opening and selling dogs and cats. Experts at the hearing said Colorado is home to 12 licensed pet stores, and only nine sell cats and dogs.
Under the bill, the nine businesses currently licensed would be allowed to remain open. The bill also requires business owners to publicly post breeder information and be transparent about the cost of the pet.
Colorado Rep. Monica Duran is sponsoring the bill and says it helps increase transparency and protections for consumers.
“This bill makes sure that bad actors can’t come into Colorado and deceive consumers with such misleading sales tactics and sick, mistreated animals,” Duran said.
Joan Thielen with the Dumb Friends League animal shelter said the nonprofit is in support of the bill.
“Hopefully, this will keep animals in their homes by allowing the new owners the ability to have more information upfront and make a more educated and informed decision,” Thielen said.
Larsen opposes the bill. He said owners already follow strict guidelines and must pass inspections to stay in business.
“I give everybody my cell number when they buy a dog, I have an A+ with the Better Business Bureau,” Larsen said. “I just want to see a choice of where people can buy their dog.”
The bill would mean less competition for Larsen, but he fears limiting where people can shop for specific cat and dog breeds will worsen bad practices already happening and increase scams.
“If we go away, breeders will still sell dogs online, will still sell dogs out of their backyards, Craigslist, and I think that makes things much worse,” Larsen said.
According to a spokesperson with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, under current rules, the licenses business owners selling cats and dogs have at this time are non-transferable and are required by House Bill 1102. This essentially means as pet store owners retire, the businesses are eliminated.
The committee will vote on the bill Thursday.