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State Pet Shop Laws: Colorado

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  • Pet animal: dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, ferrets, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates, or any other species of wild or domestic or hybrid animal sold, transferred, or retained as a household pet. Excludes livestock, and animals for work on a farm or ranch. (COLO. REV. STAT. § 35-80-102)
  • Pet animal dealership: any place or premise used in whole or in part, whether on a permanent or temporary basis, for the sole purpose of wholesale commerce or retail sale, trading, bartering or transferring pet animals to the public. Includes flea markets, mobile facilities, dep-artment stores, and pet animal shows that sell animals. Exception for hobby breeders. (8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)
  • Pet animal facility: any place used in whole or in part for the keeping of pet animals for adoption, breeding, boarding, grooming, handling, selling, sheltering, trading, or transferring such animals. (COLO. REV. STAT. §§ 25-4-701, 35-80-102)

Vet Care:

  • Pet animal dealers must provide “timely” vet care and prescribed therapy to “seriously ill or seriously injured” pet animals. Exception for feeder animals, fish and invertebrates. “Timely” vet care must be given to “sick or injured animals.” (8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)


  • Cages must allow each pet animal to turn around, engage in normal movements, and socialize with cage mates. Specific cage size charts are listed for cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters/gerbils, rats, mice, ferrets, chinchillas, birds, fish, and reptiles/ amphibians. (8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)

Lemon Laws:

  • Pet animal dealers must give to each consumer purchasing psittacine birds a specific sales record disclosing the dealer’s data and warning of psittacosis. (8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)
  • Pet animal dealers must give to each consumer purchasing reptiles a signed receipt warning of salmonella. (8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)
  • Pet animal dealers must provide vet treatment records to purchasers of dogs, cats and birds. (8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)

Food and Water:

  • Pet animal dealerships must provide potable water consistent with the species. Food must meet the “normal daily requirements” for the condition and size of the animal. Birds must have food and water suitable for the specific species at all times. (8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)

Sanitary Conditions:

  • Pet animal dealerships must remove waste from cages at least daily. Aviaries must be cleaned at least weekly. (8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)

Unweaned Animals:

  • Prohibits anyone from selling kittens and puppies less than 8 weeks old. (COLO. REV. STAT. § 35-80-108)
  • Prohibits anyone from transferring cats if they are less than 2 pounds. (COLO. REV. STAT. § 35-80-108, 8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)
  • Prohibits anyone from selling guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits under 4 weeks old. (COLO. REV. STAT. § 35-80-108)
  • Prohibits pet animal facilities from selling “immature domestic fowl” as pets. Exception if sold in groups of 25 or more. (COLO. REV. STAT. § 35-80-108)

Miscellaneous Provisions:

  • License required for pet animal facilities. (COLO. REV. STAT. §§ 35-80-108, -104, -105, -106, -112.5)
  • Birds must be leg-banded if offered for sale by anyone. The bird species that this applies to are designated in regulations. (COLO. REV. STAT. § 35-80-108)
  • Prohibits the sale or possession of a turtle less than 4 inches. (COLO. REV. STAT. § 35-80-108)
  • Pet animal facilities must allow inspections by health department, animal control or USDA (if “official disease investigation”). (COLO. REV. STAT. § 35-80-108, 25-4-710, 25-4-712)
  • Prohibits pet animal facilities from selling raccoons and other wildlife that is prohibited as pets. (COLO. REV. STAT. § 35-80-108)
  • Pet animal dealerships must “sufficiently” heat or cool pet animals to provide for their health. Must not allow temperature to fall below 50 degrees for 4 consecutive hours or above 85 degrees. (8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)
  • Pet animal dealerships must be adequately ventilated to minimize drafts, odors and moisture condensation and to exhaust air to the outside. (8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)
  • Lighting must be “uniformly distributed” and allow routine inspection and routine cleaning. Must protect each animal from “excessive illumination.” (8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)
  • Pet animal facilities must keep records for sale of dogs, cats and psittacine birds for 2 years. (COLO. REV. STAT. § 35-80-107, 8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)
  • The agriculture dept has enforcement powers. (COLO. REV. STAT. § 35-80-109) [See COLO. REV. STAT. § 35-80-110, 8 8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11 for the agriculture dept’s inspection, investigation and access authority. See 8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11 for regulations governing flea markets and temporary retail outlets.]
  • Pet animal dealers must provide timely vet care or humane euthanasia to sick or injured animals. Euthanasia must be performed under the supervision of the attending vet. (8 COLO. CODE REGS. § 1201-11)


  1. Where “adequate space” is not defined the state has not established a definition for the term.
  2. The definition of “animal” may actually be broadly written while the types of animals covered by the law (e.g., veterinary care, sanitation, food and water) may be more narrowly drafted.

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