Colorado State Service Dog Laws

The portion of Colorado Law which pertains to service dogs is CO REV ST § 18-13. Please expand the sections below to read the full text.

Important points:

Summary – Trainers and persons with disabilities have the right to be accompanied by a service dog in training in public places.

Detailed – Government State § 24-34-803(2) A trainer of a service animal, or an individual with a disability accompanied by an animal that is being trained to be a service animal, has the right to be accompanied by the service animal in training without being required to pay an extra charge for the service animal in training in or on the following places or during the following activities:

(a) Any place of employment, housing, or public accommodation;

(b) Any programs, services, or activities conducted by a public entity;

(c) Any public transportation service;  or

(d) Any other place open to the public.

(1) A person commits intentional misrepresentation of entitlement to an assistance animal if:

(a) The person intentionally misrepresents entitlement to an animal in his or her possession as an assistance animal for the purpose of obtaining any of the rights or privileges set forth in state or federal law for an individual with a disability as a reasonable accommodation in housing;

(b) The person was previously given a written or verbal warning regarding the fact that it is illegal to intentionally misrepresent entitlement to an assistance animal;

(c) The person knows that:

(I) The animal is not an assistance animal with regard to that person;  or

(II) The person does not have a disability.

(2) A person who violates subsection (1) of this section commits a class 2 petty offense and, upon conviction, shall be punished as follows:

(a) For a first offense, a fine of twenty-five dollars;

(b) For a second offense, a fine of not less than fifty dollars but not more than two hundred dollars;  and

(c) For a third or subsequent offense, a fine of not less than one hundred dollars but not more than five hundred dollars.

(3)(a) A defendant may petition the district court of the district in which any conviction records pertaining to the defendant’s first conviction for intentional misrepresentation of entitlement to an assistance animal, as described in subsection (1) of this section, are located for the sealing of the conviction records, except for basic identifying information.

(b) If a petition is filed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (3) for the sealing of a record of conviction for intentional misrepresentation of entitlement to an assistance animal, the court shall order the record sealed if the following criteria are met:

(I) The petition is filed;

(II) The filing fee is paid or the defendant has filed a motion to file without payment with a supporting financial affidavit and the court has granted the motion;

(III) The defendant’s first conviction for intentional misrepresentation of entitlement to an assistance animal was at least three years prior to the date of the filing of the petition;  and

(IV) The defendant has not had a subsequent conviction for intentional misrepresentation of entitlement to an assistance animal.

(c) An order entered pursuant to this subsection (3) must be directed to each custodian who may have custody of any part of the conviction records that are the subject of the order.  Whenever a court enters an order sealing conviction records pursuant to this subsection (3), the defendant shall provide the Colorado bureau of investigation and each custodian of the conviction records with a copy of the order and shall pay to the bureau any costs related to the sealing of his or her criminal conviction records that are in the custody of the bureau unless the court has granted the motion specified in subparagraph (II) of paragraph (b) of this subsection (3).  Thereafter, the defendant may request and the court may grant an order sealing the civil case in which the conviction records were sealed.

(4) A written finding made pursuant to section 12-36-142(1)(a), 12-38-132.5(1)(a), or 12-43-226.5(1)(a), C.R.S., is an affirmative defense to the offense established by this section.  The lack of such a finding is not proof of the offense established by this section, and nothing in this section or in sections 12-36-142, 12-38-132.5, or 12-43-226.5, C.R.S., limits the means by which a person with a disability may demonstrate, pursuant to state or federal law, that the person has a disability or that the person has a disability-related need for an assistance animal.

(5) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Assistance animal” means an animal that qualifies as a reasonable accommodation under the federal “Fair Housing Act”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 3601 et seq., as amended or section 504 of the federal “Rehabilitation Act of 1973”, 29 U.S.C. sec. 794, as amended.

(b) “Disability” has the same meaning as set forth in the federal “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 12101 et seq., and its related amendments and implementing regulations and includes a handicap as that term is defined in the federal “Fair Housing Act”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 3601 et seq., as amended, and 24 CFR 100.201.

(c) “Service animal” has the same meaning as set forth in the implementing regulations of Title II and Title III of the federal “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 12101 et seq. (d) “State and federal law” includes section 24-34-803, C.R.S., the federal laws specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection (5), and rules and regulations implementing those laws.

(1) A person commits intentional misrepresentation of a service animal if:

(a) The person intentionally misrepresents an animal in his or her possession as his or her service animal or service-animal-in-training for the purpose of obtaining any of the rights or privileges set forth in section 24-34-803, C.R.S.;

(b) The person was previously given a written or verbal warning regarding the fact that it is illegal to intentionally misrepresent a service animal;

(c) The person knows that the animal in question is not a service animal or service-animal-in-training.

(2) A person who violates subsection (1) of this section commits a class 2 petty offense and, upon conviction, shall be punished as follows:

(a) For a first offense, a fine of twenty-five dollars;

(b) For a second offense, a fine of not less than fifty dollars but not more than two hundred dollars;  and

(c) For a third or subsequent offense, a fine of not less than one hundred dollars but not more than five hundred dollars.

(3)(a) A defendant may petition the district court of the district in which any conviction records pertaining to the defendant’s first conviction for intentional misrepresentation of a service animal, as described in subsection (1) of this section, are located for the sealing of the conviction records, except for basic identifying information.

(b) If a petition is filed pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (3) for the sealing of a record of conviction for intentional misrepresentation of a service animal, the court shall order the record sealed if the following criteria are met:

(I) The petition is filed;

(II) The filing fee is paid or the defendant has filed a motion to file without payment with a supporting financial affidavit and the court has granted the motion;

(III) The defendant’s first conviction for intentional misrepresentation of a service animal was at least three years prior to the date of the filing of the petition;  and

(IV) The defendant has not had a subsequent conviction for intentional misrepresentation of a service animal.

(c) An order entered pursuant to this subsection (3) must be directed to each custodian who may have custody of any part of the conviction records that are the subject of the order.  Whenever a court enters an order sealing conviction records pursuant to this subsection (3), the defendant shall provide the Colorado bureau of investigation and each custodian of the conviction records with a copy of the order and shall pay to the bureau any costs related to the sealing of his or her criminal conviction records that are in the custody of the bureau unless the court has granted the motion specified in subparagraph (II) of paragraph (b) of this subsection (3).  Thereafter, the defendant may request and the court may grant an order sealing the civil case in which the conviction records were sealed.

(4) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Disability” has the same meaning as set forth in the federal “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 12101 et seq., and its related amendments and implementing regulations.

(b) “Qualified individual with a disability” has the same meaning as set forth in the federal “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 12101 et seq., and its related amendments and implementing regulations.

(c) “Service animal” has the same meaning as set forth in the implementing regulations of Title II and Title III of the federal “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 12101 et seq.

(d) “Service-animal-in-training” means a dog or miniature horse that is being individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability.

(e) “Trainer of a service animal” means a person who is individually training a service animal to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a qualified individual with a disability.

(1) The general assembly declares that it is the policy of the state:

(a) To encourage and enable individuals who are visually or hearing impaired or individuals with a disability to participate fully in social, employment, and educational opportunities, as well as other activities in our state on the same terms and conditions as individuals without a disability;

(b) That individuals who are visually or hearing impaired or individuals with a disability have the same rights as individuals without a disability to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities, and other public places;

(c) That individuals who are visually or hearing impaired or individuals with a disability are entitled to full and equal housing accommodations, facilities, and privileges of all common carriers, airplanes, motor vehicles, trains, motor buses, streetcars, boats, or any other public conveyances or modes of transportation, hotels, motels, lodging places, places of public accommodation, amusement, or resort, and other places to which the general public is invited, including restaurants and grocery stores;  and

(d) That individuals who are visually or hearing impaired or individuals with a disability must not be excluded, by reason of his or her disability, from participation in or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of any public entity or be subject to discrimination by any public entity.

(2) Repealed by Laws 1995, S.B.95-29, § 1.

(1) It is a discriminatory practice and unlawful for any person to discriminate against any individual or group because such person or group has opposed any practice made a discriminatory practice based on disability pursuant to part 5, 6, or 8 of this article, or because such person or group has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing conducted pursuant to part 5, 6, or 8 of this article.

(2)(a) A qualified individual with a disability, as defined in section 24-34-301(5.6), who is subject to a violation of subsection (1) of this section or of section 24-34-502, 24-34-502.2, 24-34-601, or 24-34-803 based on his or her disability may bring a civil suit in a court of competent jurisdiction and is entitled to any of the following remedies:

(I) A court order requiring compliance with the provisions of the applicable section;

(II) The recovery of actual monetary damages;  or

(III) A statutory fine not to exceed three thousand five hundred dollars.

(b) For a claim brought pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) for a construction-related accessibility violation, the violation must be considered a single incident and not as separate violations for each day the construction-related accessibility violation exists.

(c)(I) A small business defendant is entitled to a fifty percent reduction in a statutory fine assessed pursuant to subparagraph (III) of paragraph (a) of this subsection (2) if it corrects the accessibility violation within thirty days after the filing of the complaint.  The fifty percent reduction in a statutory fine does not apply, however, if the defendant knowingly or intentionally made or caused to have made the access barrier that caused the accessibility violation.

(II) For purposes of this paragraph (c), “small business” means an employer with twenty-five or fewer employees and no more than three million five hundred thousand dollars in annual gross income.

(III) Nothing in this paragraph (c) may be interpreted to result in a reduction in actual monetary damages awarded pursuant to subparagraph (II) of paragraph (a) of this subsection (2).

(3) An award of attorney fees and costs pursuant to section 24-34-505.6(6)(b) applies to claims brought pursuant to this section.

(4) A court that hears civil suits pursuant to this section shall apply the same standards and defenses that are available under the federal “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990”, 42 U.S.C. sec. 12101 et seq., and its related amendments and implementing regulations.

(1) A qualified individual with a disability has the right to be accompanied by a service animal individually trained for that individual without being required to pay an extra charge for the service animal in or on the following places or during the following activities and subject to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to all individuals:

(a) Any place of employment, housing, or public accommodation;

(b) Any programs, services, or activities conducted by a public entity;

(c) Any public transportation service;  or

(d) Any other place open to the public.

(2) A trainer of a service animal, or an individual with a disability accompanied by an animal that is being trained to be a service animal, has the right to be accompanied by the service animal in training without being required to pay an extra charge for the service animal in training in or on the following places or during the following activities:

(a) Any place of employment, housing, or public accommodation;

(b) Any programs, services, or activities conducted by a public entity;

(c) Any public transportation service;  or

(d) Any other place open to the public.

(3)(a) An employer shall allow an employee with a disability who is accompanied by a service animal to keep the employee’s service animal with the employee at all times in the place of employment.  An employer shall not fail or refuse to hire or discharge any individual with a disability, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with a disability, with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because that individual with a disability is accompanied by a service animal individually trained for that individual.

(b) An employer shall make reasonable accommodation to make the workplace accessible for an otherwise qualified individual with a disability who is an applicant or employee and who is accompanied by a service animal individually trained for that individual unless the employer can show that the accommodation would impose an undue hardship on the employer’s business.  For purposes of this paragraph (b), “undue hardship” and “reasonable accommodation” have the same meaning as set forth in Title I of the federal “Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990”, 42 U.S.C. sec 12101 et seq., and its related amendments and implementing regulations.

(4) The owner or individual with a disability who has control or custody of a service animal or the trainer of a service animal is liable for any damage to persons, premises, or facilities, including places of housing, places of public accommodation, and places of employment, caused by that individual’s service animal or service animal in training.  The individual who has control or custody of a service animal or a service animal in training is subject to the provisions of section 18-9-204.5, C.R.S.

(5) An individual with a disability who owns a service animal is exempt from any state or local licensing fees or charges that might otherwise apply in connection with owning a similar animal.

(6) The mere presence of a service animal in a place of public accommodation is not grounds for any violation of a sanitary standard, rule, or regulation promulgated pursuant to section 25-4-1604, C.R.S.

(1) It is unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or agent of any person, firm, or corporation to:

(a) Withhold, deny, deprive, or attempt to withhold, deny, or deprive a qualified individual with a disability who is accompanied by a service animal or a trainer of a service animal of any of the rights or privileges secured in section 24-34-803;

(b) Threaten to interfere with any of the rights of a qualified individual with a disability who is accompanied by a service animal or a trainer of a service animal secured in section 24-34-803;

(c) Punish or attempt to punish a qualified individual with a disability who is accompanied by a service animal or a trainer of a service animal for exercising or attempting to exercise any right or privilege secured by section 24-34-803;  or

(d) Interfere with, injure, or harm, or cause another dog to interfere with, injure, or harm, a service animal.

(2) Any person who violates any provision of subsection (1) of this section commits a class 3 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S.

(3)(a)(I) Except as provided for in subparagraphs (II) and (III) of this paragraph (a), a person who violates any provision of subsection (1) of this section is liable to the qualified individual with a disability who is accompanied by a service animal or a trainer of a service animal whose rights were affected for the penalties provided in section 24-34-802.

(II) A person who willfully or wantonly causes harm to a service animal or a service animal in training is liable to the legal owner of the service animal or service animal in training for treble the amount of actual damages.

(III) The legal owner of an animal that is willfully or wantonly allowed to cause harm to a service animal or a service animal in training is liable to the legal owner of the service animal or service animal in training for treble the amount of actual damages.

(b) In any action commenced pursuant to this subsection (3), a court may award costs and reasonable attorney fees.

(c) An animal care or control agency is exempt from the provisions of this subsection (3) if, after a good-faith effort, the agency is unaware that the animal is a service animal.

(4) Nothing in this section is intended to interfere with remedies or relief that any person might be entitled to pursuant to parts 3 to 7 of this article.