What to Expect
If you plead guilty or are found guilty at trial, you will be referred for an aggressive animal evaluation at one of the court-approved locations. The evaluator will prepare a report for use in court that will have recommendations for management strategies to prevent any future aggression incidents and any training that might help. The court-approved evaluators are either Animal Behaviorists or Veterinary Behaviorists.
Aggressive animal evaluations can be done before you decide whether to plead guilty or not guilty. To prevent future aggressive animal violations, and perhaps limit the number of times you need to come to court (these cases currently require two mandatory court appearances), we urge you to get the evaluation done before your court date. If you do, please indicate that you are requesting a court-ordered evaluation. That way, the animal behaviorist will contact the court for a copy of the court paperwork. Engaging in this process is likely to result in the need to appear in court only once.
List of Approved Animal Evaluation Providers
Veterinary Behaviorists (DVM)
The Veterinary Behavior Center
Contact: Dr. Ariel Fagen, DVM
Fee: $259 minimum
Animal Behaviorists (CBCC-KA)
Humane Society of Boulder Valley
Contact: Anita Hurley, Allison Hartage
303-442-4030 (please specify this is a court-ordered evaluation)
Complete K-9, Fort Collins
Contact: Ashley Foster
Dog Days Training, Berthoud
Contact: Laurie Buffington
Canine Education Center
Contact: Camille King, PhD
Fee: $550 + travel; includes one follow-up session and 3 months of unlimited email/phone consulting (assessment is done in-home)
Frequently Asked Questions
You can get your evaluation done with one of the approved providers include on this web page.
You are free to schedule or even complete your evaluation before your first court date. Be sure to tell the provider that you need a court-ordered evaluation.
No, the court requires you to get it done by one of the court-approved providers. The designated providers are either animal behaviorists or veterinary behaviorists. These providers have additional training and certification that most people who work with animals do not have. If you get your evaluation done by a non-approved provider, there is a good chance the judge will require you to get a new evaluation from an approved provider.
Animal behaviorists are people who love animals and study them to learn and understand animal behavior – why they do things and act in certain ways. They look at the animal’s environment and try to find what caused the behavior. One mistaken belief some pet owners have is that a good dog trainer is also an animal behaviorist and vice versa. That may be true for some trainers and animal behaviorists, but not usually. Animal behaviorists have additional training and certifications that most animal trainers do not.
Veterinary Behaviorists are trained and licensed to diagnose and treat problems in animals, whether they are medical or behavioral. Being veterinarians, these behaviorists can understand medical problems that may be contributing to the behavioral problem of the animal. A veterinary behaviorist is licensed to prescribe drugs and is familiar with psychotropic medications such as anti-anxiety medications.