Colorado Passes Dog Protection Law

After more than 40 pets were killed in Colorado over the past five years by police officers responding to disturbances, the Senate and House have passed a law to cut down on such incidents. The Dog Protection Act, which has already been signed into law by Colorado governor John Hickenlooper, is the first of its kind across the U.S.

Animal activists have been lobbying lawmakers since April to pass a bill that would require law enforcement officers to undergo a training program on how to treat dogs while on duty. The proposed training consists of three hours of online classes and would teach officers how to recognize aggressive dog behavior and how to use non-lethal force to protect themselves from dangerous dogs.

A task force comprised of dog owners, veterinarians, and police officers met on Wednesday to discuss how and when to begin implementation of officer training programs.

Republican Senator David Balmer, who originally sponsored the bill, said its goal is to aid officers when they are forced to make quick decisions in the field. Although the training emphasizes non-lethal ways to control animals, officers will still have discretion when responding to violent incidents.

An officer still has flexibility to make the gut-wrenching decisions that they make on a daily basis,” Balmer said.

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