DENVER — The Colorado governor has created a new committee specialized to work on protecting animals from abuse.
Gov. Jared Polis, alongside First Gentleman Marlon Reis and Lt. Governor Dianne Primavera, introduced the People for Animal Welfare (PAW) Committee, a group of local specialists who will focus on animals’ well-being and protecting them from cruelty.
“This committee is made up of a variety of animal welfare experts,” Primavera said. “Their input will be critical to making Colorado a top state in protecting animals of all kinds.”
The committee is made of 14 people from different backgrounds — including veterinarians, conservationists, attorneys, representatives of the animal control sector and senior animal shelter staff — to ensure all Coloradans have a voice in the discussions.
The members of the People for Animal Welfare Committee include:
· Marc Bekoff, professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado Boulder
· Apryl Steele, president of Denver Dumb Friends League
· Justin Marceau, animal legal defense fund professor at the University of Denver
· Alice Nightengale, director of Denver Animal Protection
· E’lise Christensen, veterinarian with Behavior Vets Colorado
· Leslie Irvine, professor with the Arts and Sciences Council at CU Boulder
· Katie Parker, executive director of Animal Assistance Foundation
· Phil Tedeschi, director of the Institute of the Human-Animal Connection at University of Denver
· Jon Geller, executive director of The Street Dog Coalition
· Carolyn Karrh, executive director of Peace, Love and Paws
· Janee Boswell, animal control supervisor with the Boulder Police Department
· Judy Calhoun, CEO of Larimer Humane Society
· Anna Stout, executive director of Roice-Hurst Humane Society
· Diane Balkin, senior staff attorney with Animal Legal Defense Fund
“This Committee is about protecting Colorado animals and giving them a voice,” Reis said. “There is so much great work happening in our state around animal welfare and the PAW Committee is an opportunity to bring together experts on these issues and make Colorado a national leader.”
In addition, on Wednesday, Polis signed two bills related to animals.
The first bill, House Bill 19-1092, would prohibit a person convicted of felony animal cruelty from owning a pet for three to five years.
The second bill, House Bill 19-1220, would allow a court facility dog to accompany a witness during his or her testimony in court. The dog would be trained to offer support to the witness without being a distraction during the court proceedings.