In this section you will find useful bits of information regarding children and animals. If you have questions that are not addressed here please call the Child & Animal Welfare Law Offices of the Rocky Mountains at 303.954.4580 or send me an

An Animal Lawyer Doesn’t Mean Your Cat Passed The Bar

An animal lawyer can handle a wide variety of issues related to animal welfare. These issues range from housing including rental apartments, co-ops, and condominiums; pet trusts (estate planning issues for companion animals); and the rights of the disabled to have animal’s assistance. Additionally, an animal welfare lawyer may cover veterinary malpractice, domestic violence and companion animals, negligence and abuse. If you or someone you know needs counsel related to animal welfare, please consult with an animal law attorney such as Gabriela Sandoval located in Denver, Colorado.

How to Hire A Lawyer – Start with a Legal Consultation

Understanding Your Legal Rights and Options
Whether you have animal welfare or child welfare issues, you probably have questions and concerns. Fortunately, you do not have to sort it out alone. The first step to understanding your options and your legal rights in the State of Colorado is to have an initial consultation.

Initial Consultation
In the State of Colorado, Gabriela Sandoval is here to help. The initial consultation is at no obligation and is completely confidential. During the initial consultation Gabriela will explain your rights and options so that you can get the information you need to make good choices.

Hiring an Attorney
During your initial consultation Gabriela will determine the estimated costs and fees associated with your legal representation. The specific cost of legal services varies and will depend on your unique situation and circumstances.
If, after your consultation, you determine you would like to proceed with representation, you and your attorney will go over the representation agreement and the firm will collect a retainer fee, which is like an initial deposit, so that your attorney can begin resolving your legal issue.

Schedule An Initial Consultation
To schedule your confidential legal consultation, call our office at 303.954.4580 or send your request via . In your consultation request, please include your full name, mailing address and phone number. We will then contact you and schedule a convenient time to discuss your legal issue. We are conveniently located in downtown Denver close to light rail, metered, and lot parking.

The 10 Commandments for Good Parenting

A leading expert in parenting offers some real world, solid advice on how to be a good parent. Read this article >

Smart Child Proofing for Your Home

  • Use safety latches and locks for cabinets and drawers to help prevent poisoning or injury.
  • Use outlet covers to help prevent electrocution.
  • Use safety gates to prevent children from falling down stairs or entering rooms with potential hazards. Ensure gates are certified by the JPMA.
  • Use door knob covers and door stops to help prevent children from entering potentially hazardous areas in or outside your home or getting little fingers caught in the door.
  • Use anti-scald devices for all sinks and showers to help prevent burns.
  • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home and close to bedrooms.
  • Use corner and edge bumpers on furniture and ledges to guard against injury.
  • Use window guards and safety nets to help prevent falls from windows or balconies.

How To Discuss Adoption With Children – The Dos & Dont’s


  • Emphasize that there’s nothing wrong with him. Explain that he was given up for adoption because his biological parents were unable to care for a baby at that time.
  • Stress that adoption is permanent, so your child won’t worry that you’ll give him up someday, too.
  • Talk about your child’s birth mother and father. Otherwise, he might conclude that his adoptive father is his birth father.
  • Encourage your child to discuss his emotions.


  • Tell a child that she was given up “out of love.” She may worry that if you love her, you’ll give her up, too.
  • Say that you “chose” her. In order to be chosen by you, she might conclude that she was unwanted by someone else.
  • Denigrate the birth mother or father. They have a real connection with your child.
  • Expect her to come to terms with her adoption immediately. Many kids surprise parents with emotional reactions at age 7 or 8.

~ Parenting Magazine, September 1999

Tips to Protect Kids Online In 4 Easy Steps

Although no technology can be a replacement for parental involvement, there are ways to help protect your children from inappropriate content.

Here are some tips for protecting your children’s privacy and safety when they’re using the computer.

Step 1: Decide where your child can and can’t go on the Internet

It’s a good idea to check out some sites for kids. Pay particular interest to sites that collect personal information.

If you don’t agree with the privacy statement of a particular site or if you don’t want to give away any of your child’s personal information, do a little searching and you may find a similar site that doesn’t request any information at all.

Block inappropriate content.
One of the best defenses against inappropriate content is to block it before it gets to you.

Use Parental Controls. As a parent, you have a unique opinion on what kind of content is appropriate for your child depending on his age, maturity, and your personal beliefs. Consult with your Tech advisor to learn more about parental control features.

Step 2: Increase your security and privacy

In addition to blocking inappropriate content, it’s a good idea to block sites and downloads that may be a risk to your security and privacy.

As a parent you can give yourself an Administrator account with full control over the computer, and give your children Limited User accounts, with restricted controls.

Limited Users cannot change system settings or install new hardware or software, including most games, media players, and chat programs. To learn more about how to set up different user accounts, contact your Tech advisor.

Adjust Web browser security settings. You can also help protect your child through your Web browser. Internet Explorer helps you control your security and privacy preferences by allowing you to assign security levels to Web sites.

Step 3: Keep track of where your kids go online

It may not always be possible to be present while your children are surfing the Web. But it is possible to check later to see where your children have spent their time online.

By reviewing the History list in Internet Explorer, you can see all the places your children visited on the Web. To view your Internet History, click the History button on the browser toolbar. Learn more by reading Find and Return to Web Pages You’ve Recently Visited.

Step 4: Remind kids not to talk to strangers online

Real-time chats and instant messaging can be a great way for children to discuss their interests and build friendships. But the anonymity of the Internet can also put children at risk of falling victim to imposters and predators. To help minimize your children’s vulnerability, teach them to take precautions such as:

Using only a first name or nickname to identify themselves.

Never disclosing a phone number or address.

Never sending photographs of themselves.

Never agreeing to meet someone they met online without supervision.

To help protect your children from being contacted by strangers while instant messaging, configure your software to allow only approved contacts.

Set family rules for Internet use
Although software can help you protect your family from inappropriate content on the Web, there is no substitute for teaching your children a few basic rules. Talk to your children about the risks of going online, and teach them how to handle uncomfortable situations. And finally, set limits, and discuss them with your children. Together, you can create a fun and safer environment for your children online.

How to Report Suspected Child Abuse?

Of course this is a very serious allegation, so be sure your suspicions are in good faith that there may be child abuse occurring. If you firmly believe it, you should report the abuse to your county’s child protection agency. You are not required to know for certain or have definitive proof. All you need is “reasonable cause, suspicion, or belief” based on your observations. Information to support your concern may include your firsthand observations or beliefs, your professional training or experience, or statements made by the child or parent. Although anonymous reports can be made in every state, child welfare agencies generally discourage anonymity primarily because knowing the identity of the reporter can help in the investigation and greater serve the child’s needs. To see phone numbers in Colorado by county click here.

The 3 Elements of Parenting to Live By

Physically disciplining your child is highly discouraged. Use nonviolent discipline techniques, such as time outs or natural consequences. While discipline is important when children misbehave, it should be used to correct your child’s behavior, not to punish or humiliate him or her.
Complimenting your child when she or he exhibits good behavior or makes a good effort is essential to building healthy self-confidence. Remember to praise your child not only for a job well done but also for the effort. But praising is not as straightforward as it seems. For additional information you might want to read this article from New York Magazine called How Not To Talk To Your Kids.
Quality time
If you interact with your child, actively listening to him, talking with him, and keeping it pleasant, that’s quality time. Children need some quality time with their parents every day.

A Guide to Early Child Development

As they grow, children are always learning new things. These are just some of the things you should be looking for as your child grows. Because every child develops at his or her own pace, your child may reach these milestones slightly before or after other children the same age. Use this as a guide and if you have concerns, talk with your child’s doctor or nurse.

By the end of 7 months, many children are able to:

  •  turn head when name is called
  • smile back at another person
  • respond to sound with sounds
  • enjoy social play (such as peek-a-boo)

By the end of 1 year (12 months), many children are able to:

  • use simple gestures (waving “bye-bye”)
  • make  sounds such as “ma” and “da”
  • imitate actions in their play (clap when you clap)
  • respond when told “no”

By the end of 1.5 years (18 months), many children are able to:

  • do simple pretend play (“talk” on a toy phone)
  • point to interesting objects
  • look at an object when you point at it and tell your child to “look!”
  • use several single words unprompted

By the end of 2 years (24 months), many children are able to:

  • use 2 to 4 word phrases
  • follow simple instructions
  • become more interested in other children
  • point to object or picture when named

By the end of 3 years (36 months), many children are able to:

  • show affection for playmates
  • use 4 to 5 word sentences
  • imitate adults and playmates (run when other children run)
  • play make-believe with dolls, animals, and people (“feed” a teddy bear)

By the end of 4 years (48 months), many children are able to:

  • use 5 to 6 word sentences
  • follow 3-step commands (“Get dressed. Comb your hair, and wash your face.”)
  • cooperate with other children

From Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to age 5 by Steven Shelov, Robert E. Hannermann, by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Great Tips for Being a Responsible Pet Owner

Read this brochure to learn how to prepare yourself and your companion animal for disasters >

Carry an emergency contact card in your wallet:
You should have a card in your wallet that instructs emergency personnel to contact your emergency caregivers for your pets. List how many pets are in your home, their names, ages, gender, and breed. List the names and numbers of your veterinarian and pet sitter so they too can be reached if need be.

Window decal:
Place a window decal where emergency workers will see that you have animals in your home in the event of an emergency. Your furry friends will have a better chance of being rescued. Be sure the decal is in a place easy to see and clearly states how many animal friends live in your home.

Outdoor Items That May Injure Your Cat or Dog

Algae – Found in ponds; certain forms are toxic and may cause serious illness

Antifreeze/Coolant – Many contain ethylene glycol, which is highly toxic to dogs and cats – even in very small amounts

Fire Pits/Grills – Flames can result in serious burns and ashes can cause illness if ingested

Fences, Gates, Deck Lattice – Openings in damaged fences or gates can be used to run away or could lead to strangulation if your pet becomes stuck

De-Icing Salt – Some formulations may contain chemicals that are hazardous to pets if ingested in large amounts, so look for “pet-friendly” varieties

Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs – Never leave your animal companion unattended near uncovered pools, even if they can swim

Holiday Hazards and Your Furry Children

4th of July – Fireworks not only scare pets and cause them to run off, but they can also cause serious injuries if detonated near your animal companion. Many formulations are potentially toxic to pets if ingested as well.

Halloween – Torture: Some pets, specifically black cats, have become victims of torture and abuse during Halloween, so keep your pet indoors. Candy: Xylitol is toxic and should be kept away from your pet. Also, all forms of chocolate can be harmful, potentially resulting in poisoning or even pancreatic inflammation form the high fat content. Candles: Pets may be attracted to the bright lights of the flame in dark areas so ensure your animal companions are not left unsupervised near a flame. Halloween Advisory for Companion Animals

The above “Outdoor Items” and “Holiday Hazards” lists are published by the ASPCA and are provided to the Rocky Mountain Legal Center for Child & Animal Welfare curtesy of Dr. Scolnick of Pets on Broadway in Denver.

Get the truth about spaying and neutering >

Nowadays most people know that declawing a cat is cruel and, in most cases, unnecessary. The Humane Society of The United States offers a great synopsis on cat declawing.

Lost or Found Pet?

Losing a pet may be one of the most heartbreaking and anxiety-producing situations anyone will ever experience. is there to make the search for your lost pet fast, easy and thorough. Getting your pet home to you quickly and safely is what they’re all about. If you lost or found a pet please visit

Pet Adoption

When you’re looking to add an animal companion to your life, consider adopting a homeless animal from your local shelter. Whether you want a puppy or a more mature dog, a purebred or a one-of-a-kind mixed breed, even a rabbit or hamster, your shelter has the best selection of animals anywhere—all screened for good health and behavior. Most shelters will even help you with spaying and neutering at no charge.

The animal shelter is your top source for a new pet, and our pet-care experts have compiled all the information you’ll need to find your nearest shelter, select a pet who matches your lifestyle, and more. 1-800-Save-A-Pet has an easy to use tool to locate animal shelters in your area.

Horse Care

Because of their size and strength, horses are often misunderstood by people who don’t know much about them. They often assume horses require little care – just stick them in a field and they’ll be fine. They also tend to underestimate the safety aspects of being around horses – safety for both horse and human. Finally, many novice horse people, and even some experienced ones, don’t understand horse behavior and communication and so handle the horse inappropriately.

The information presented by the ASPCA is an informative introduction to basic horse care. More detailed information is available in many excellent books and a growing number of web sites. Always remember that the primary source of health care advice for your horse should be your veterinarian who knows the specifics of your animal and your situation. If in doubt, ask your veterinarian.

Don’t Leave Your Furry Friend’s Future To Chance

As this article in USA Today so aptly points out, you can secure the care of your pet very easily. Your beloved pet’s care is one of the most important things, right? Setting up a Pet Trust with a qualified Animal Welfare Attorney will give your beloved pet the continuing care that she needs as well as give you peace of mind.

Reporting Animal Abuse

If you witness animal abuse or neglect, please contact your local humane society, animal shelter, or animal control agency immediately. In most areas, those agencies have the authority to enforce state and local laws related to animals and the capability to investigate and resolve these situations. They rely on concerned citizens to be their eyes and ears in the community and to report animal suffering. You can choose to remain anonymous, although giving your name to your humane agency will enable that group to follow up with you when necessary. Denver residents can visit the DDFL’s website and file a report online or call them directly at 303.923.0022.

These dedicated agencies have the important job of ensuring that animals in their jurisdiction receive proper food, water, and shelter, and are protected from abandonment and cruel treatment. The prevention of cruelty to animals represents the core mission of many local animal care organizations. Investigation requests can come from members of the community or other law enforcement agencies.

How to Handle Landlord/Tenant Disputes Regarding Pets

Before resorting to legal remedies, try person-to-person communication. Perhaps a compromise can be worked out between the landlord or property manager and the tenant. For example, having your pet only enter and exit the building using the rear door. If the problem persists with landlords, property management, or homeowners associations and the only alternative is to remove your companion animal, then you ought to seek the counsel of an animal law attorney. There are certain situations in which it is legal to have a companion animal even when there is a “no pet” policy. Resolving the matter in court should be your last resort. But when all else fails, an animal law attorney might be able to help.

For Your Information and Pro Se Representation:

Court forms access online - click here