Colorado has now become the 12th state in the country to designate an official state pet. While other states have chosen specific breeds, North Carolina’s state dog is the Plott Hound, Maryland has the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Massachusetts the Boston Terrier, and Alaska with the Malamute, Colorado went in a different direction, honoring all shelter dogs (and cats, too!) as their official state pet.
So, no matter what breed a dog is in Colorado, if he was adopted from a shelter, he’s an official state pet.
The bill was originally proposed by a group of Colorado school children in an effort to teach them about the state legislative system.
Governor John Hickenlooper signed the bill into law alongside his own rescue dog, Sky.
The law wasn’t passed without opposition, though. Not surprisingly, lobbyists for purebred dogs and pet store puppies fought the bill. One opponent even suggested that the bill discriminated against reptiles and birds that can also be pets.
Governor Hickenlooper also signed another important bill supporting dogs into law – one that requires all police officers to undergo training in dog behavior and handling to avoid unnecessary dog deaths. Many high-profile cases of dogs being shot by police under questionable circumstances spurred the new law.
Big kudos to the state of Colorado for both honoring rescued dogs and for protecting our family pets!