Second Chance: Will New Law Help Renters Who Have Pets?

Second Chance: Will New Law Help Renters Who Have Pets?

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center (SCHS) and Thrift Shops have been serving San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose Counties since 1994. The shelter is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 11am – 5:30 pm. Community veterinary services are available by appointment.

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We see firsthand how a lack of pet-friendly housing negatively impacts dogs and cats. Our surrender numbers in the past year show that 190 pets were out of luck for housing or financial reasons. Those two issues are by far the most prevalent factors in pets coming into our shelter. Other animal welfare partners have also seen an increase in surrenders because people lost housing and could not find a new place to live that would accept pets. In our service area, housing is scarce, expensive, and pets are not welcome in many rentals.

A small bit of good news for renting pet parents came from the legislature and governor last month when a bill capping pet deposits and fees was signed into law.

Gov. Jared Polis signed House Bill 23-1068 to go into effect January 1, 2024. The law limits the amount a landlord can charge for a pet security deposit to $300. While that is still a lot of money, some landlords currently charge a full month’s rent for each pet in the home. Pet deposits must also be refundable, which is not currently required. Monthly pet fees (pet rent) are capped at $35 or 1.5% of the rent, whichever is higher.

In addition, insurers are now prohibited from denying homeowner’s insurance or a dwelling fire insurance policy based solely on the breed of a dog at a residence. Insurers are not allowed to inquire about the breed of a pet dog, although they can ask if the animal has been deemed dangerous.

Another change that comes with the passage of the bill is that law enforcement officers executing an eviction must give pets to tenants if they are present. If tenants are not present, the animal must be given to local animal control with efforts made to inform the tenant of its location.

While this is progress, it doesn’t go as far as originally intended. The original bill banned all pet deposits and pet fees, which would have been huge for pet families. While some view the passage of the bill as a victory regarding pet-owner rights, others worry that new limits on pet rent and security deposits may result in fewer landlords renting their properties to pet-owners.

When the bill was being debated, a shelter dog named Queso was inside the Capitol. His furry face reminded lawmakers that their vote impacts real family pets who may end up homeless because of the financial challenges families face when renting or insuring their homes.


Our longest-term dog is Rosco, a young shepherd mix. At 45 lbs, he is the perfect-sized dog for traveling and other adventures. He is a happy, handsome, energetic boy who loves to swim, hike, play with toys, and hang out with people. He knows sit, down, off, wait/stay, come, spin, and has even started agility!

Roscoe is selective about his dog friends, so being an only dog may be best. Our wonderful trainer has been working with him on learning his manners. Again, he is very smart, affectionate, and trainable. Rosco would be great on a ranch or in an active outdoorsy household.

AND… To continue the Second Chance Highlights section, we want to share the following:

In the summer of 2022, we joined other rescue groups to help more than 30 dogs and puppies living in less-than-ideal conditions. They had limited access to food and water and no vet care. Although we were at capacity, we took in three of the dogs.

One of them was Smidge.


His health was poor. Smidge had an abscess on his neck and a permanent limp because of an untreated leg injury. He soon went home with a family who really tried to make it work. But, because of his history – Smidge had difficulty bonding with the husband. He loved the wife, but would not warm up to anyone else. So, Smidge came back to the shelter.

Ilene saw Smidge featured on our social media and came to adopt him. Ilene is a valued volunteer at Second Chance, helping at the gallery and at adoption events. She is also dedicated to adopting senior dogs because she identifies with them. She likes that they are quiet and grateful for a low-key life she can offer. This time,
Ilene wanted a younger senior (Smidge is approximately 7 years old). She wants to have more time with him, delaying the loss that older senior pets bring. Smidge fit right in with her other dogs.

Smidge and his new owner Ilene.

“He’s doing very well here. He’s disappointed the others don’t want to play, but likes me real well. He is a little skittish still, very passive around food, and just wants attention.”

Smidge had his wellness vet visit and all labs are excellent. He’ll get a dental treatment in a couple of weeks. Ilene says: “He’s a lovely dog. He’s trying to get onto my lap at my desk right now.”

1 Comment
  • Victoria Addington
    Posted at 10:47h, 23 August

    It captured me the most when you mentioned that pets are considered by many pet owners as part of their family. My friend wants to ensure she complies with pet laws. I should advise her to turn to a unique firm that specializes in pet laws.