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Lawmakers Hope To Find More Homes, Faster For Abused Animals

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Gov. John Hickenlooper signs an animal abuse bill into law with a rescue dog. (credit: CBS)

Gov. John Hickenlooper signs an animal abuse bill into law with a rescue dog. (credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4)- Animals caught in abusive situations will find new homes faster under a new law. It will streamline the impound process to allow pets to become adopted by new families.

Some of the most disturbing animal abuse and neglect cases include a Jefferson County woman with more than 200 rabbits, a Teller County man with 100 dogs, 40 parrots found in a Colorado Springs home, 22 animals in a U-haul in Fort Collins.

“As the economy has become more challenging we’ve seen more of these cases with large volumes of animals,” said Lisa Pederson.

Pederson is the president of the Colorado Federation Welfare Agency. She said after those animals are rescued they can spend months and even years in a shelter as the owner awaits a court hearing.

“One of the problems right now is that while those animals are sitting in our shelters, not only is there a large cost of care, but those animals can’t go home,” said Pederson.

Rep. Robert Ramirez and Sen. Pat Steadman sponsored a bill designed to speed up the process. It would require a hearing within 20 days for owners whose animals are seized to determine if they should get the animals back or pay for their impound.

“It’s sad,” said Ramirez, a Republican representing Westminster. “So nobody is left holding the bag. Nobody’s animals are taken without a warning or probable cause, due process, and that’s really the big deal.”

“The costs are great and so the importance of having a fair procedure, a way for the animal welfare authorities to make sure that their costs are covered for impound and shelter, it’s very important,” said Steadman, a Republican representing Denver.

As Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law Thursday, one of those rescued animals was there to thank him.

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