Animal Ordinance

Town Code updates
As a home rule municipality, the Town of Castle Rock has its own set of local laws and codes. From time to time, those local laws need to be reviewed. Town staff has undertaken a comprehensive review of the Town's Code related to animals. 

Purpose of the review


Town staff has undertaken this comprehensive review to improve public health and safety.

Current status and recommendations


At this time, staff is recommending a replacement of the current breed-specific ban in favor of a two-tiered, behavior-based system.

In the current code, it refers to Dangerous/Vicious Animal. The proposed ordinance revision would:
  • Replace current dangerous/vicious animal code with a two-tiered, behavior-based system
  • Define a potentially dangerous animal
  • Define a dangerous animal
The proposed two-tiered, behavior-based system recognizes and defines prohibited animal behavior within the Town. The addition of a potentially dangerous animal section would allow law enforcement, through the Municipal Court, to effectively address dog behavior on the underlying facts rather than in a restrictive and global manner.

In addition, staff has proposed revisions to other areas of Town Code related to a variety of animals, including chickens, bees, dogs, cats, wildlife and more. Read on to learn about Town staff's recommended changes and possible next steps. 

Proposal: replacing Pit Bull ban with two-tired, behavior-based provision


Town staff conducted extensive research throughout the review process and found most Colorado communities do not have breed-specific bans. Research shows breed-specific bans present a number of challenges and are difficult to enforce. That's why Town staff is making the recommendation to move away from a breed-specific ban to a two-tiered, behavior-based potentially dangerous and dangerous animal system. The proposed system would allow authorities to focus on the particular behavior of a dog and not it's appearance or genetic make-up. 

It's important to note, the proposed system also outlines definitions for both potentially dangerous and dangerous animals. These definitions are designed to proactively manage a potentially dangerous dog, and would not necessarily require a dog to injure/bite another animal or person before being classified as potentially dangerous. Additionally, dangerous dogs would be clearly defined, and steps to remove the animal from Town limits would be outlined.

Learn more about the basis for the Town's recommendation:

About the team


Town staff undertaking this review has included the Town's Municipal Prosecutor, two Town Animal Control Officers, the Court Clerk, and representatives from the Town Attorney's Office. The Animal Control Officers have about 15 years of combined experience, and the Municipal Prosecutor has worked with the Town for more than 20 years. 

Goals of the review


The team is working to develop a proposed Code that:
  • is more easily understood
  • is consistent with developments in the law
  • provides more certainty and uniformity in enforcement
  • will work more efficiently in our growing community
  • recognizes responsible pet ownership, and the shared place animals hold in many residents' lives
  • will better serve to increase public health and safety

About the research

Over the course of a year, the team researched legal authority, studied neighboring communities' laws and more. The Town also received hundreds of comments. Here are some of the top take-aways.
  • Research shows bans can be difficult to enforce: research and review of court cases  shows the animal’s behavior is a better indicator of aggressiveness than breed.
  • Residents who responded favored lifting the Town's breed-specific ban: On this topic, we received about 300 comments. About 209 were from residents, 36 were from non-residents, and 76 were undefined as residents or non-residents. In that, 128 residents were in favor of lifting the ban on pit bulls. 
  • We need to be specific about chickens. Town Code currently allows chickens as part of a total number of allotted animals, but feedback indicated we should be more specific. The changes propose to address the permitted number of chickens as well as cooping requirements and humane treatment. Roosters would be prohibited. 
  • We need to be specific about bees. We recommend including bees with the Animal Code, rather than zoning provisions where it currently lives. 
  • We need to clarify number of animals. Currently, our Code limits the total number of all animals. The proposal suggests updating this area of the Code to be more specific about dogs and cats.

Next steps: Get feedback on recommended changes


During this review, the Town has considered community feedback, researched legal authority and studied neighboring communities' laws and more. Now, the Town has some changes to recommend to Town Council, but first, we want to know what you think. 

Open house hosted on Jan. 31, 2018


The Town hosted a second open house on Jan. 31, 2018 to explain the proposed changes and get feedback. View the information displayed and give us your feedback.

It's important to note, Town Council has NOT approved these proposed changes, and there will be additional time for public comment before Council makes its decision. Town Council is expected to discuss the topic on March 6, 2018.

Town Council received an update on these proposed changes during one of its regular meetings in December 2017. Read a memo or watch a video presentation

Previous open house information 


As the Town reviewed this ordinance, your feedback has been key. The Town hosted an open house on April 11, 2017. (View the information presented.) More than 100 people attended the open house and provided feedback. More than 300 people have also given feedback online. Thank you! 

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Special note


Please note that these codes are separate from HOA rules and regulations. Castle Rock Police does not enforce HOA requirements.