Shelter dogs and cats are now Colorado’s official state pets

Greg Campbell | Contributor

Colorado became the twelfth state on Monday to designate an official state pet — or, in this case, pets.

Whereas every other state to do so has honored a specific breed of dog, Colorado chose to name any dog or cat that has been adopted from a rescue shelter — whether Labrador retriever or Chihuahua, Siamese or tabby — as its official domestic animal.

The proposal was suggested by school children as part of a project to teach them about the legislative process. Even though the bill faced opposition from lobbyists for purebred dogs and pet stores — one actually testified that the bill discriminated against birds and reptiles — it probably represents the least controversial bill the state legislature debated all year.

It was signed into law Monday during a ceremony attended by Gov. John Hickenlooper’s own rescue dog, Sky.

Hickenlooper also signed into law another dog bill, this one requiring police officers to undergo training in dog behavior. It was spurred by several high-profile incidences of cops shooting dogs under questionable circumstances.

The bighorn sheep is Colorado’s official land mammal, adopted in 1961.

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