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The Colorado State does not take animal rights lightly and actively enforces its animal protection laws.  It’s illegal to cause physical harm to your pet dog or leave it in the woods to fend for itself.  That is abandonment, and it carries hefty charges, which can be a misdemeanor or felony with jail time of up to 18 months on a first offense.  Because of this, anyone accused of animal cruelty will have to get the services of a bondsman who offers bail bonds in Denver that residents rely on.

If you happen to be charged with animal cruelty in Denver, you will need to get Denver bail bonds.  Read further to learn two important facts about animal cruelty in Colorado.

Colorado Animal Protection Laws Defined

Colorado Revised Statute CRS 18-9-202 prohibits cruelty to animals. It defines animal cruelty as the act of abusing, neglecting, or abandoning the animal regardless if the person responsible for the animal was knowing, reckless, or negligent.  Defendants will be charged separately for each allegedly abused animal.  In addition to animal cruelty, this section also prohibits animal fighting. The charge is elevated to aggravated animal cruelty when the person knowingly inflicts horrendous mental and physical mistreatment and extreme pain on the animal.  This charge will be met with harsher punishments.

In 2019, the Federal PACT Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act (PACT) was passed by Congress.  This law prohibits crushing, which is defined by causing severe harm to a wild or domestic animal through crushing, drowning, suffocating, impalement, and other methods.  Also, PACT prohibits the creation and distribution of animal crushing photographs or videos.  

Criminal Penalties According To Colorado Animal Protection Laws

A first-time animal cruelty offense is a class 1 misdemeanor, which carries the following punishments:

6 to 18 months in county jail, and $500 to $5,000 fine.

Usually, the court will impose an anger management program instead of jail time at the judge’s discretion.

A second conviction of animal cruelty becomes a class 6 felony which means:

1- 1 and a half years in prison (1-year mandatory parole, and $1,000 to $100,000 fine)

  • Anger management treatment
  • Court order to not own pets for 3 to 5 years
  • Aggravated animal cruelty first offense:
  • Class 6 felony  – carries the same penalties as the second conviction of animal cruelty

A second conviction of aggravated animal cruelty is a class 5 felony which carries the following penalties:

  • 1 – 3 years in prison (2 years mandatory parole) and/or $1,000 to $100,000 fines
  • Anger management or other treatment programs
  • Court order to not own pets for 3 to 5 years
  • Animal fighting (not limited to specific species like chickens, or dogs):

This offense falls under CRS 18-9-204, which prohibits animal fights for entertainment or financial gains, like rooster fights and dog fights.

Those who organize, sponsor, or encourage animal fights will be charged with a class 5 felony, the same weight as that of the second conviction of aggravated animal cruelty.

Finally, the violation of the PACT Act carries a sentence of 7 years in federal prison, plus a fine.  In addition to these punishments, the court may order the forfeiture of the animal as well.


Colorado is a state that strictly enforces anti-animal cruelty laws, which is an excellent reason to turn to bail bonds Denver locals trust.  When you utilize a company that offers Denver bail bonds, you’re assured preparation for your defense outside of jail.