The Colorado Law Project

Report Animal Abuse and Neglect


The abuse and neglect of animals is a serious issue and should be reported immediately. Animal abuse could signify a greater issue in the home so it is important that these acts are reported to the appropriate authorities as soon as the abuse or neglect is recognized. The ASPCA describes an abused or neglected dog as one that is extremely thin, tick or flee infested, has patches of missing hair, or is limping. Signs that the owner is abusing an animal include striking or physically abusing the animal or when the animal cowers in fear or is aggressive around the owner. These are all signs the ASPCA describes as reasons for reporting potential animal abuse. In the State of Colorado, pets are now covered in domestic protective orders Senate Bill 10-80. This means that if a restraining order is issued any animal owned by the person requesting the order is covered as well.

This is not the only legislation in Colorado that protects animals from mistreatment. Article 8 of Denver’s Municipal Code covers the mistreatment of animals. This includes cruelty, neglect, abandonment, and poisoning (Sec. 8-131 to 136). On the State level C.R.S. 18-9-202 covers various types of abuse and neglect including unnecessary cruelty, torment, mutilation, and failing to provide the animal with the proper food or drink. The statute covers a multitude of other instances including abuses directed to pack and draft animals. The links below provide other resources for learning about or reporting animal abuse and neglect.

  • Denver Dumb Friends League
    The Denver Dumb Friends League investigates animal abuse/cruelty in 8 counties (Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Jefferson, and Weld). Phone Number -303-932-0022
    This site provides links to animal control in various counties. 311 – Call this number to report pet abuse in Denver
  • Colorado Bureau of Animal Protection
    The Colorado Bureau of Animal Protection is part of the Department of Agriculture. This site includes information about how to report animal abuse/neglect. Reports may be filed online or by phone at (303) 239-4167.
    The American Association for the Prevention for the Cruelty of Animals (ASPCA) is a national animal welfare organization headquartered in New York City. This website contains a wealth of information on animal related issues.
  • Animal Legal Defense Fund
    The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) was founded by a group of attorneys in 1979. Now an organization of national importance, the ALDF’s primary programs include a Litigation Program, which files lawsuits to stop the abuse of animals, a Criminal Justice Program, which works with law enforcement and prosecutors to seek maximum penalties for animal abusers, and an Animal Law Program, which is dedicated to fostering the field of animal law among legal professionals and in law schools nationwide.


Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208