Dogs & Laws

Colorado Lawmaker Hopes to End Discrimination Against Big Dogs

A Colorado lawmaker is hoping to end discrimination against big dogs with the introduction of a bill that, if passed, would prevent HOAs and landlords from banning large breeds.

discrimination against big dogs

For pet owners looking for a home to rent, having large dogs can make the process incredibly difficult. Even in cities where no breed restrictions exist, a vast majority of apartments and rental properties place size restrictions on pets in the home.

But, State Rep. Paul Rosenthal (D-Denver) is hoping HB-1126 will make it easier for Coloradoans to find housing by ending discrimination against big dogs statewide, making it easier for families to stay together.

Rosenthal says when it comes to renting a home, it shouldn’t matter the dog’s breed or size. “In a lot of ways, it’s just: ‘is this a behaved dog?’” he said. “I think this is a fairness issue and right now people with big dogs are being treated unequally.”

The bill is scheduled for a floor debate in Colorado’s House of Representatives today following a 9-to-4 vote in favor of the bill by the House Committee on Local Government. In summary, the bill “invalidates any covenant that prohibits the keeping of certain types of dogs based solely on a breed, weight, or size classification.”

If passed, the new law would end size and weight restrictions set forth by landlords and home owners associations within the state. It would not, however, end breed-specific legislation already in place in cities like Denver, which bans pit bulls. HOAs and landlords could still ban pets altogether. And, the law would not affect limits on the number of dogs a renter could share the home with, rules for nuisance barking and waste disposal.

Rosenthal told the Denver Post he personally experienced difficulty finding housing several years ago when his brother left on deployment and charged Rosenthal with caring for his Samoyed/Golden Retriever mix, and again when a fellow teacher separated from her boyfriend and left their shared home with two German Shepherds. Unable to find a rental property that would allow the dogs, she was forced to give them up.

Of course, the bill is facing opposition, particularly from HOA members concerned over the change and the loss of their rights to set rules regarding pets.

“This bill is the most invasive government proposal on HOA homeowners’ rights to ever be proposed, and, worse yet, it is going to set off a legal bombshell and could end up costing HOAs thousands of dollars a year,” said Stan Hrincevich, the president of the Colorado HOA Forum.

Hrincevich added that many residents choose housing because of the dog breed and size restrictions and removing those restrictions could result in litigation and increased insurance premiums in many communities.

What do you think? Would you support this bill in your own state? Have you ever faced difficulty finding housing because of discrimination against big dogs? Weigh in with a comment below!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Juliet

    Feb 17, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    The bill does not apply to landlords, only HOAs. IThere would have been way much opposition from landlords. It passed out of committee and will go to the floor for a full vote

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