Colorado

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Titlesort descending Summary
McCausland v. People
Action by the People of the State of Colorado against William J. McCausland.  From a judgement overruling defendant's motion to dismiss and finding him guilty of cruelty to animals, he brings error.  Affirmed.
Overview of Colorado Great Ape Laws This is a short overview of Colorado Great Ape law.
People v. Bergen


Defendant, a journalist, attempted to film a dogfight for an investigative story on dogfighting following the passage of a Denver ordinance forbidding the ownership of bull terriers (pitbulls).    Defendant videotaped two separate fights and dogs "training" by running on treadmills.  After the story aired, public outcry lead to a police investigation as to the source of the dogfighting footage, which lead to the arrest of the defendant and her cameramen for dogfighting and perjury.


People v. Harris Harris was convicted for twenty-two counts of cruelty to animals after dozens of malnourished animals were found on her property by employees of the Humane Society. On appeal, Harris raised two main issues: (1) that the animal protection agent who was an employee of the Humane Society was not authorized to obtain a search warrant to investigate her property and (2) that the mistreatment of the twenty-two animals constituted one continuous course of conduct and that the lower court violated her rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause by entering a judgment on twenty-two counts of animal cruelty. The Court of Appeals reviewed the issue of whether the animal protection agent had the authority to obtain a search warrant to investigate the property and determined that the agent did not have the proper authority. The Court looked to the state statute that specifically stated that only “state employees” were able to investigate livestock cases. In this case, the animal protection agent was employed by the Humane Society and was not a state employee; therefore, he did not have the authority to obtain a search warrant to investigate the property. However, the Court found that there was no constitutional violation with regard to the search warrant because it was still obtained based on probable cause. For this reason, the Court denied Harris’ request to suppress evidence that was submitted as a result of the search warrant. Finally, the Court reviewed Harris’ argument regarding her rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause. The Court found that under the statute dealing with animal cruelty, the phrases “any animal” and “an animal” suggests that a person commits a separate offense for each animal that is mistreated. Essentially, the Court held that the language of the statute “demonstrates that the legislature perceived animal cruelty not as an offense against property but as an offense against the individual animal.” As a result, Harris’ rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause were not violated and the Court upheld the lower court’s decision.
Roalstad v. City of Lafayette The origins of this matter began when the City of Lafayette (City) charged Defendant/Appellant with violating its municipal ordinance regarding vicious animals. Defendant/Appellant requested a jury trial pursuant to C.R.S.A. § 16-10-109. The municipal court denied the request. Defendant/Appellant appealed the district court's dismissal of her C.R.C.P. 106 and declaratory judgment action in which she challenged the municipal court's denial of her request for a jury trial. The sole issue on appeal was whether the offense for which Defendant was charged under the City's ordinances was a “petty offense” under C.R.S.A. § 16-10-109, which would entitle her to a jury trial under that statute. Since the municipal ordinance imposed fines that met that definition and because it was not a crime at common law, the court concluded the offense met the definition of “petty offense;” Defendant/Appellant was therefore entitled to a jury trial in municipal court pursuant to C.R.S.A. § 16-10-109. Further, because the ordinance and the state Dangerous Dog law were counterparts and because the ordinance was criminal in nature, the vicious animal offense was not exempt from the “petty offense” definition. Accordingly, the district court’s order was reversed.
Salazar v. Kubic At her facility, Defendant raised and housed more than 200 mice and rats to be sold as feed for snakes and other carnivores. Until March 2013, Defendant had a valid license issued under Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act (PACFA), but it expired. Upon the expiration Defendant kept operating her facility despite a cease and desist order from the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture. The trial court granted the Commissioner's request for a permanent injunction to prevent Defendant from operating without the required PACFA license and from violating the cease and desist order. On appeal, the court rejected Defendant’s argument that her rodents were outside PACFA’s “pet animal” definition, despite the fact the mice and rats she sold were used as food, not household pets. Additionally, the court found rats and mice did not fit within the statutory exemptions for livestock or “any other animal designated by the Commissioner.” The court was also unpersuaded that Defendants rodents were “working animals” because there was no indication that she used them to perform any function that could be considered “work.” The district court’s decision was affirmed.
State v. Morison


Cattle owners sued the state and its agricultural commission for negligently performing the duty to use proper steps to prevent the spread of a contagious disease after they bought dairy cows at a sale that subsequently infected their herd. The owners were forced to sell their herd of dairy cows. The Supreme Court held that the owners could recover the difference between fair market value of their herd before and after it contracted the disease, loss of profits due to diminished milk production from cows before sale, value of silage or feed that had been contaminated, and reasonable costs of disinfecting the farm, but not for loss of profits for the dairy operation after they sold the cows, or loss of progeny.

Winkler v. Colorado Dept. of Health


In 1974, the Colorado Department of Health adopted certain regulations, the conceded effect of which is to prohibit importation of pets for resale from states whose licensing laws and regulations for commercial pet dealers are not as stringent as those of Colorado. The regulations exempt from this prohibition persons who import pets not for resale and exclusively for breeding purposes or for personal use. After the regulations were upheld by the Denver district court, the plaintiffs, who are commercial pet importers, brought this appeal. The court found these arguments to be unpersuasive and, accordingly, affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

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