(Mar 12) – The House passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Alex Valdez, D-Denver, that seeks to provide more mental health treatment for people convicted of animal cruelty and also bar people convicted of certain kinds of animal cruelty from possession of a pet animal for a period of time while they receive treatment.

“The goals of this bill are to remove animals from abusive situations and to identify behaviors that could lead to worse crimes,” said Rep. Valdez. “We should help offenders get the treatment they need so they can re-emerge as productive members of society.”

Through HB19-1092, the judge can order the animal cruelty offender to complete a mental health treatment program.

“There is absolutely a correlation between crimes against animals and violent crimes such as mass shootings or domestic terrorism,” said Rep. Valdez.

A 2014 study of mass school shootings found that 43 percent of shooters had a history of animal abuse. This bill aims to find the underlying causes of the acts of animal cruelty and treat those issues.

The bill passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 55-7. It now heads to the Senate.

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