Overview of the Bureau of Animal Protection
The Bureau of Animal Protection (BAP) was first created in 1990 when the Colorado legislature reenacted the Animal Protection Act. The bureau’s mission is to conduct outreach and education and administer and enforce the provisions of the Animal Protection Act to prevent the neglect, mistreatment, or abandonment of domestic and companion animals in Colorado.
The BAP oversees and trains approximately 100 commissioned volunteer animal protection agents, administers a stakeholder task force to obtain feedback from diverse perspectives on animal protection issues, conducts outreach and education, and works with local animal protection and law enforcement officials to advance cooperation in the investigation of potential animal mistreatment, neglect or abandonment.
The BAP has both civil remedies and limited criminal authority to enforce Colorado’s cruelty to animals statues. The BAP program operates on a complaint-basis: staff and agents respond when called upon, whether by a local sheriff’s department, veterinarian, or concerned neighbor, in order to enforce the law.
In spring 2022, Colorado Department of Agriculture BAP program staff developed a three-year strategic plan for the BAP. The development of the plan was a collaborative process that involved getting feedback from law enforcement, veterinarians, BAP agents, and diverse stakeholders.
You can read the BAP Strategic Plan below, which includes objectives, action items, and guiding principles for the program.
The Bureau of Animal Protection (BAP) program has three full time staff, who are employed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA). The BAP is also assisted by CDA staff in the Animal Health Division and the Commissioner’s Office. Please see below for the bios of the BAP’s staff members.
Dr. Courtney Diehl, Bureau of Animal Protection Program Manager
Dr. Diehl has 23 years of experience as a mixed animal field services veterinarian. She has worked extensively with members of law enforcement on animal cruelty investigations and has provided expert witness testimony on several animal cruelty cases.
During her time in private veterinary practice, Dr. Diehl’s clients included ranchers and outfitters, private owners, guest ranches, Western and English boarding and training facilities, and breeding operations. She has previously worked with the Dumb Friends League, providing veterinary services for the Harmony Equine Center and worked closely with the Colorado Humane Society and the Bureau of Animal Protection as the Field Services and Investigations Veterinarian.
Dr. Diehl serves on the Colorado State Veterinary Board, the Education Committee for the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association, and on the taskforce for the Bureau of Animal Protection.
Taylor Peterson, Bureau of Animal Protection Lead Investigator/Complaint Coordinator
Taylor started this role in April, 2022. Before coming to the BAP, she was an Animal Control Supervisor with the Park County Sheriff's Office. She has been serving as a commissioned BAP agent for 4 and a half years. She has completed 358 hours of animal welfare and animal cruelty/neglect investigations on livestock as well as companion animal cases. She is excited to provide support and education on accepted animal husbandry to the entire state of Colorado.
Dr. Claire Vaiden, BAP Lead Veterinarian
Dr. Vaiden graduated veterinary school in 2014 from University of Florida. Her passion for animal welfare and veterinary forensics began with her first position as a veterinarian practicing at a low-cost clinic in rural North Carolina. Following her move to Colorado, she transitioned from private practice to shelter medicine in 2019. She spent 3 years serving her community at a municipal shelter on the Front Range where she treated injured and sick stray animals in addition to providing her expertise for animal cruelty and neglect cases. This experience motivated Dr. Vaiden to pursue additional education in the field of veterinary forensics, and she recently completed a graduate certification in the subject. Dr. Vaiden is excited to bring her knowledge and passion to the Bureau of Animal Protection to further the agency’s mission and contribute to the advancement of animal welfare in Colorado.
Becky Hoffman, Programs Coordinator for the Animal Health Division
Becky joined CDA in 2016 and assists with many facets of the division including BAP administrative tasks. Becky has helped create the database that holds BAP agent information, incidents, and dangerous dog registrations.