PACFA Licensed Facilities
COVID-19 Response
Guidance for PACFA Licensed Facilities


Last updated: 3/23/2020
Subject to change

Pet Services: Critical vs. Non Critical Business

General questions regarding Critical vs. Non-Critical businesses can be answered by the new executive order that was issued by the Governor on Sunday, March 22, 2020, and can be found in the Colorado Department of Health and Environment (CDPHE) Public Health Order 20-24 (the Order). How the Order impacts pet services can be summarized as follows:

  • A Non-Critical Business is required to reduce in-person work by at least 50 percent and follow social distancing requirements as defined in the Order. A reduction of in-person work can include telework, staggering work schedules, or other measures to reduce the proximity of workers to each other.   

  • A Critical Business is exempt from the Order and is not required to reduce in-person work, but must still comply with social distancing requirements. In the Order, critical services include “animal shelters, animal rescues, zoological facilities, animal sanctuaries and other pet-related service facilities, such as boarding facilities.” All other pet services licensed under PACFA would be considered Non-Critical Businesses and thus subject to the Order. This would include groomers, retail facilities, and other license types.   

  • Under the Order, any employer who can certify that employees are no closer than six feet from one another during any part of their work hours is exempted from the Order upon receiving certification from the CDPHE. 

  • The order is effective until April 10, 2020, unless amended in writing by the CDPHE.

  • Local governments may issue orders that implement requirements above and beyond the statewide order. Please check with your local authorities. 


Emergency Rule Exemption for Foster Home Inspections

On Saturday, March 21, 2020, the Colorado Department of Agriculture approved an emergency exemption provision to Rule 19.11.2 which can be found on the PACFA web page . This temporary emergency rule allows shelters and rescues to foster animals without first conducting an in-person foster home inspection. All other rules pertaining to in-home fostering still apply. This emergency rule is effective for 120 days from the adoption date. 

Animal shelters, sanctuaries, and rescues must request an exemption in writing, must not have any disciplinary actions pending and must demonstrate provisions for the safety and well being of the animals should the exemption be granted. Video inspections would be an acceptable method to demonstrate the safety provision. To request an exemption please email your inspector or Nick Fisher, the PACFA Program Section Chief at nick.fisher@state.co.us .

Per PACFA Rule 18.22 foster homes are only allowed to foster up to 8 animals. This rule has not been changed. The 8 animal limit includes any personal animals in the home. Puppies and kittens under 8 weeks of age that are still with their mother are considered one animal. Local and county laws and ordinances may impose stricter animal limits and these supersede PACFA rules. The current rule does include an exemption provision to allow for the fostering of more than 8 animals, facilities must request this exemption in writing and demonstrate provisions for the safety and well being of the animals should the exemption be granted.

Exemptions to 35-80-106.4, C.R.S., Spay Neuter Requirement 

The Governor’s March 19, 2020, Executive Order D 2020 009 requires veterinary clinics to suspend “elective” surgeries which include spay/neuter surgeries effective March 23, 2020.” Due to the Governor’s Executive Order, exemptions from 35-80-106.4 may be requested in writing to your inspector or to Nick Fisher, the PACFA Program Section Chief at nick.fisher@state.co.us. Facilities should state they are requesting the exemption pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Order D 2020 009 and Section 35-80-106.4(3)(e). These exemptions will be granted only for the time in which the Executive Order D 2020 009 is in place.