BROOMFIELD, Colo. — The Bureau of Animal Protection (BAP) within the Colorado Department of Agriculture has released a strategic plan outlining key priorities and goals for the BAP over the next three years. The development of the three-year strategic plan began as a collaborative process this past spring and involved getting feedback from law enforcement, veterinarians, BAP agents, and diverse stakeholders. The strategic plan outlines what the BAP will do with increased staffing to support local law enforcement and agents in the field to address cases of potential animal abandonment, mistreatment or neglect.
“During the 2022 legislative session, the General Assembly supported the Bureau of Animal Protection budget request put forward in Governor Polis’s budget and appropriated much needed additional funding for the BAP. This appropriation allowed BAP to grow to three full time staff members dedicated solely to the welfare and protection of animals across Colorado,” said Dr. Rebecca Niemiec, Program Manager for the Bureau of Animal Protection. “The BAP’s three year strategic plan highlights our commitment to providing enhanced support for local law enforcement in addressing cases of potential mistreatment and outlines our focus on facilitating early detection and prevention of animal abuse and neglect through outreach, education, and stakeholder engagement.”
The top priorities identified in the plan include supporting law enforcement investigations, collecting more data to improve operations and response, and enhancing public outreach on behalf of the BAP.
To help prevent animal neglect and mistreatment, program staff will work with diverse stakeholders on providing animal care resources and mental health support to people in crisis and collaboratively develop outreach programs to empower veterinarians and other community members, like teachers, groomers, social workers, paramedics, and others to recognize and respond to potential animal mistreatment.
By establishing new systems to collect and analyze case data, BAP staff will be able to better understand how to focus the program’s resources. Additionally, the BAP will share statistics of the program’s impact through increased public outreach.
For the first time since its creation in 1990, the BAP will have three full-time employees dedicated to supporting BAP agents and other law enforcement agency personnel across Colorado. Enhanced staffing will allow the BAP to offer expertise on cases of potential animal cruelty and neglect, provide trainings for agents and law enforcement, and assist with the transport and housing of animals.
The plan was developed through collaborative discussions with stakeholders. BAP staff held multiple public meetings and presentations, gathered feedback via surveys and focus groups of BAP agents, and convened multiple meetings with the BAP Stakeholder Task Force, a group of 13 diverse stakeholders, including veterinarians, county commissioners, and representatives from livestock and animal welfare organizations, academic institutions, and law enforcement.
More information about the BAP, including how to file a complaint related to potential animal mistreatment, can be found at ag.colorado.gov/BAP.
–Colorado Department of Agriculture