People v. Allen

657 P.2d 447 (1983)

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People v. Allen

Colorado Supreme Court
657 P.2d 447 (1983)

Facts

Everett Allen (defendant) owned several horses. An investigation found the animals to be severely emaciated. The People of Colorado (the People) (plaintiffs) charged Allen with neglect of animals pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-9-202, which prohibits cruelty to animals. At the county court, Allen moved to dismiss the charges, arguing that Section 18-9-202 was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. In Section 18-9-201, the Colorado legislature defined neglect as the “failure to provide food, water, protection from the elements, opportunity for exercise, or other care normal, usual, and proper for an animal’s health and well-being.” The People argued that this definition was sufficient to render the statute not vague nor overbroad. The county court disagreed and granted Allen’s motion to dismiss, finding the statute both vague and overbroad. On appeal, the district court held that Section 18-9-202 was unconstitutionally vague because the statutory definition provided no warning of the type of conduct prohibited but reversed on the overbreadth ground because Allen did not have standing to raise a challenge to the overbreadth of the statute. The People appealed as to the vague ruling, and Allen cross-appealed on the issue of standing. In support of his overbroad argument, Allen hypothesized that an animal owner who left his or her pet in a boarding kennel that then failed to properly care for the animal could be found liable under the statute, which does not conform with the intent of the legislature.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Dubofsky, J.)

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