Lawmaker wants to stop discrimination against large breed dogs in Colorado

DENVER — Colorado is probably one of the best places to pamper our animals. Our dogs and pets are basically family. 

Now, one lawmaker is trying to keep families together, making sure our furry family members aren’t discriminated against in a lease or by an HOA, just because of their size.

To Englewood resident Christy Wooten, her German shepherds, Porter and Shadow, were her babies, her family.

"Porter was more like a cat, just really lazy. [He would] lay around all the time. The sweetest thing," said Wooten. "Shadow was more spunky. [He had] lots of energy."

Things changed after a breakup, and she had to find a new place to live.

"No one would accept them, and they’re not mean dogs. They’re the sweetest things. I rescued them. It broke my heart," she said.

The problem, she says, were the dogs’ size. They were considered large breed dogs, something many landlords and HOA's ban. 

Wooten told Denver7 she searched for something in her budget for six months and applied to dozens of properties, with no luck. She eventually gave her dogs to her ex, who now resides out of state.

"I'm surprised. With how dog-friendly Colorado seems to be, it's a disappointment,” said Wooten. “They think they’re aggressive and they’re not."

She's not alone. State Rep. Paul Rosenthal (D-Denver) introduced HB-1126. If passed, the law would stop HOA’s or landlords from banning large dogs.

"It doesn't matter the breed or the size. In a lot of ways, it’s just: 'is this a behaved dog?'” said Rosenthal. “I think this is a fairness issue and right now people with big dogs are being treated unequally.”

Wooten is not giving up. She hopes the bill will pass too so everyone can see Porter and Shadow for who they really are.

If the bill passes, it will not override cities like Denver, which bans certain breeds or an HOA that ban dogs altogether.

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