Colorado Revised Statutes Title 18 Criminal Code § 18-9-2045 Unlawful ownership of dangerous dog--legislative declaration--definitions




(1) The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that:

(a) Dangerous dogs are a serious and widespread threat to the safety and welfare of citizens throughout the state because of the number and serious nature of attacks by such dogs;  and

(b) The regulation and control of dangerous dogs is a matter of statewide concern.

(2) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Bodily injury” means any physical injury that results in severe bruising, muscle tears, or skin lacerations requiring professional medical treatment or any physical injury that requires corrective or cosmetic surgery.

(a.5) “Bureau” means the bureau of animal protection in the department of agriculture, division of animal industry, created pursuant to section 35-42-105, C.R.S .

(b) “Dangerous dog” means any dog that:

(I) Inflicts bodily or serious bodily injury upon or causes the death of a person or domestic animal;  or

(II) Demonstrates tendencies that would cause a reasonable person to believe that the dog may inflict bodily or serious bodily injury upon or cause the death of any person or domestic animal;  or

(III) Engages in or is trained for animal fighting as described and prohibited in section 18-9-204 .

(c) “Dog” means any domesticated animal related to the fox, wolf, coyote, or jackal.

(d) “Domestic animal” means any dog, cat, any animal kept as a household pet, or livestock.

(e) “Owner” or “owns” means any person, firm, corporation, or organization owning, possessing, harboring, keeping, having financial or property interest in, or having control or custody of a domestic animal, as the term is defined in paragraph (d) of this subsection (2), including a dangerous dog as the term is defined in paragraph (b) of this subsection (2).

(f) “Serious bodily injury” has the same meaning as such term is defined in section 18-1-901(3)(p) .

(3)(a) A person commits ownership of a dangerous dog if such person owns, possesses, harbors, keeps, has a financial or property interest in, or has custody or control over a dangerous dog.

(b) Any owner who violates paragraph (a) of this subsection (3) whose dog inflicts bodily injury upon any person commits a class 3 misdemeanor.  Any owner involved in a second or subsequent violation under this paragraph (b) commits a class 2 misdemeanor.

(c) Any owner who violates paragraph (a) of this subsection (3) whose dog inflicts serious bodily injury to a person commits a class 1 misdemeanor.  Any owner involved in a second or subsequent violation under this paragraph (c) commits a class 6 felony.

(d) Any owner who violates paragraph (a) of this subsection (3) whose dog causes the death of a person commits a class 5 felony.

(e)(I) Any owner who violates paragraph (a) of this subsection (3) whose dog injures or causes the death of any domestic animal commits a class 3 misdemeanor.

(II) Any owner of a dog that is involved in a second or subsequent violation under this paragraph (e) commits a class 2 misdemeanor.  The minimum fine specified in section 18-1.3-501 for a class 2 misdemeanor shall be mandatory.

(III)(A) The court shall order the convicted owner and any owner who enters into a deferred judgment or deferred prosecution to make restitution to the injured or dead domestic animal's owner pursuant to applicable provisions of title 16, C.R.S., governing restitution.

(B) Restitution shall be equal to the greater of the fair market value or the replacement cost of the domestic animal on the date, but before the time, the animal was injured or destroyed plus any reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred in treating the animal and any actual costs incurred in replacing the injured or destroyed animal.

(B.5) An owner who violates paragraph (a) of this subsection (3) and whose dog damages or destroys the property of another person commits a class 1 petty offense.

(C) Any owner whose dog damages or destroys property shall make restitution to the owner of such property in an amount equal to the greater of the fair market value or the replacement cost of such property before its destruction plus any actual costs incurred in replacing such property.

(e.5) The court shall order any owner of a dangerous dog who has been convicted of a violation of this section to:

(I) Confine the dangerous dog in a building or enclosure designed to be escape-proof and, whenever the dog is outside of the building or enclosure, keep the dog under the owner's control by use of a leash.  The owner shall post a conspicuous warning sign on the building or enclosure notifying others that a dangerous dog is housed in the building or enclosure.  In addition, if the conviction is for a second or subsequent offense, the dangerous dog shall also be muzzled whenever it is outside of the building or enclosure.

(II) Immediately report to the bureau in writing any material change in the dangerous dog's situation, including but not limited to a change, transfer, or termination of ownership, change of address, escape, or death;

(III) At the owner's expense, permanently identify the dangerous dog through the implantation of a microchip by a licensed veterinarian or a licensed shelter.  A veterinarian or licensed shelter that implants a microchip in a dangerous dog shall report the microchipping information to the bureau within ten days after implantation of the microchip, pursuant to section 35-42-115(2), C.R.S .

(IV) Prior to the implantation of the microchip, pay a nonrefundable dangerous dog microchip license fee of fifty dollars to the bureau;

(V) Prior to the dangerous dog receiving any service or treatment, disclose in writing to any provider of the service or treatment, including but not limited to a veterinary health care worker, dog groomer, humane agency staff person, pet animal care facility staff person, professional dog handler, or dog trainer, each acting in the performance of his or her respective duties, that the dangerous dog has been the subject of a conviction of a violation of this section;

(VI) Prior to a change, transfer, or termination of ownership of a dangerous dog, disclose in writing to the prospective owner that the dangerous dog has been the subject of a conviction of a violation of this section.

(f) In addition to any other penalty set forth in this subsection (3), upon an owner's entry of a guilty plea or the return of a verdict of guilty by a judge or jury or a deferred judgment or deferred prosecution for a violation that results in bodily injury, serious bodily injury, or death to a person, the court, pursuant to applicable provisions of title 16, C.R.S., governing restitution, shall order the defendant to make restitution in accordance with said provisions.

(g)(I) In addition to the penalties set forth in paragraphs (b) to (e) of this subsection (3), upon an owner's entry of a guilty plea or the return of a verdict of guilty by a judge or jury or a deferred judgment or deferred prosecution for a violation that results in serious bodily injury to a person or death to a person or domestic animal or for a second or subsequent violation of paragraph (b) or (e) of this subsection (3) resulting in a conviction or a deferred judgment or a deferred prosecution involving the same dog of the same owner, the court shall order that the dangerous dog be immediately confiscated and placed in a public animal shelter and shall order that, upon exhaustion of any right an owner has to appeal a conviction based on a violation of this subsection (3), the owner's dangerous dog be destroyed by euthanasia administered by a licensed veterinarian.

(II) In addition to any penalty set forth in paragraphs (b) to (e) of this subsection (3), for a second or subsequent violation of paragraph (b) or (e) of this subsection (3) resulting in a conviction or a deferred judgment or a deferred prosecution involving the same dog of a different owner, the court may order that the dangerous dog be immediately confiscated and placed in a public animal shelter and that, upon exhaustion of any right an owner has to appeal a conviction based on a violation of this subsection (3), the owner's dangerous dog be destroyed by euthanasia administered by a licensed veterinarian.

(h)(I) An affirmative defense to the violation of this subsection (3) shall be:

(A) That, at the time of the attack by the dangerous dog which causes injury to or the death of a domestic animal, the domestic animal was at large, was an estray, and entered upon the property of the owner and the attack began, but did not necessarily end, upon such property;

(B) That, at the time of the attack by the dangerous dog which causes injury to or the death of a domestic animal, said animal was biting or otherwise attacking the dangerous dog or its owner;

(C) That, at the time of the attack by the dangerous dog which causes injury to or the death of a person, the victim of the attack was committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense, other than a petty offense, against the dog's owner, and the attack did not occur on the owner's property;

(D) That, at the time of the attack by the dangerous dog which causes injury to or the death of a person, the victim of the attack was committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense, other than a petty offense, against a person on the owner's property or the property itself and the attack began, but did not necessarily end, upon such property;  or

(E) That the person who was the victim of the attack by the dangerous dog tormented, provoked, abused, or inflicted injury upon the dog in such an extreme manner which resulted in the attack.

(II) The affirmative defenses set forth in subparagraph (I) of this paragraph (h) shall not apply to any dog that has engaged in or been trained for animal fighting as said term is described in section 18-9-204 .

(4) Upon taking an owner into custody for an alleged violation of this section or the issuing of a summons and complaint to the owner, pursuant to the Colorado rules of criminal procedure and part 1 of article 4 of title 16, C.R.S., the owner's dangerous dog may be taken into custody and placed in a public animal shelter, at the owner's expense, pending final disposition of the charge against the owner.  In addition, in the event the court, pursuant to the Colorado rules of criminal procedure and part 1 of article 4 of title 16, C.R.S., sets bail for an owner's release from custody pending final disposition, the court may require, as a condition of bond, that the owner's dangerous dog be placed by an impound agency, as defined in section 18-9-202.5(5) , at the owner's expense in a location selected by the impound agency including a public animal shelter, licensed boarding facility, or veterinarian's clinic, pending final disposition of the alleged violation of this section.  The owner is liable for the total cost of board and care for a dog placed pursuant to this subsection (4).

(5)(a) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit a municipality from adopting any rule or law for the control of dangerous dogs;  except that any such rule or law shall not regulate dangerous dogs in a manner that is specific to breed.

(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to abrogate a county's authority under part 1 of article 15 of title 30, C.R.S., to adopt dog control and licensing resolutions and to impose the penalties set forth in section 30-15-102, C.R.S .;  except that any such resolution shall not regulate dangerous dogs in a manner that is specific to breed.

(c) No municipality or county may destroy or dispose of a dog that is awaiting destruction or disposition as of April 21, 2004, in connection with a violation or charged violation of a municipal or county ban on one or more specific dog breeds.

(6) The provisions of this section shall not apply to the following:

(a) To any dog that is used by a peace officer while the officer is engaged in the performance of peace officer duties;

(b) To any dog that inflicts bodily or serious bodily injury to any veterinary health care worker, dog groomer, humane agency personnel, professional dog handler, or trainer each acting in the performance of his or her respective duties, unless the owner is subject to a court order issued pursuant to paragraph (e.5) of subsection (3) of this section and the owner has failed to comply with the provisions of subparagraph (V) of paragraph (e.5) of subsection (3) of this section;  or

(c) To any dog that inflicts injury upon or causes the death of a domestic animal while the dog was working as a hunting dog, herding dog, or predator control dog on the property of or under the control of the dog's owner and the injury or death was to a domestic animal naturally associated with the work of such dog.





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