Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
When is a brand inspection required?
Colorado law and regulations require that livestock (including cattle, calves, horses, mules, donkeys, burros and, when requested, sheep), whether or not they are branded, be inspected before (1) any change of ownership (whether by gift or sale), (2) transport over 75 miles within the state of Colorado, (3) transport to a destination outside Colorado (regardless of the distance), (4) transport to sale, and (5) transport to slaughter.
Who is responsible for arranging for a brand inspection?
The seller/transporter is responsible for obtaining the brand inspection and must be present, in person or by agent appointed in writing and authorized in advance by the brand inspector, during the inspection.
Does the buyer need to be present during a brand inspection?
No, although it is a good practice to be there if possible so that if a problem arises, there is a better chance of getting it resolved.
How do I determine who my brand inspector is and how to reach him/her?
If you have Internet access, go to www.colorado.gov/agbrands and click on the Livestock Inspection tab, then on the Brand Inspectors tab. That will bring up an interactive map of Colorado. Click on the region of the state in which you are located, and the name and contact information for your brand inspector will appear. If you do not have Internet access, call the Brand Office (303.869.9160) and someone will help you.
How much does a brand inspection cost?
That depends on what species of livestock is being inspected. Go to www.colorado.gov/agbrands and click on the Fee Schedule. You will see cost information for (1) the minimum inspection fee for cattle and horses, (2) per head inspection fees for each, (3) fees collected for the Beef Board and Colorado Horse Development Authority, and (3) in the case of horses, the fee for permanent travel cards should you wish to get one. When speaking with the brand inspector to arrange your inspection, tell him/her the circumstances and the inspector will be able to tell you the cost.
What information must I have to obtain a brand inspection?
The brand inspector’s job is to ensure that you are the owner of the animal or have legal authority to sell or transport it. So, in the case of both cattle and horses, if they are branded with a Colorado brand registered with the Brand Office, that will be sufficient proof of ownership/authorization absent some known fact to the contrary. In the case of horses, if they are unbranded and are Colorado horses, you must have the blue copy (or pink if you are merely transporting the horses) of a brand inspection certificate, or a permanent travel card. If the horses are not from Colorado but came from a brand state, you must have a brand inspection certificate from the state of origin showing you as the owner. If the horses came from a non-brand state, you should have a legal bill of sale. Additional evidence of ownership, such as a Coggins test certificate, certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI), veterinary records, breed registrations, etc. is helpful in establishing ownership.
Which copy of the brand inspection certificate should be given to the buyer?
Assuming the seller has been paid in full for the livestock, the seller should give the blue copy of the brand inspection certificate (which is the bill of sale copy) to the buyer. If payment in full is not made at the time of the brand inspection, it is good practice for the seller to retain the blue copy of the certificate and give the buyer the pink copy pending payment in full. Once payment in full is made, the blue copy should be given to the buyer.
What do I do if I accepted payment in full for a horse by check, gave the buyer the blue copy of the brand inspection certificate, and the check bounced (or the buyer stopped payment on it)?
Advise the local brand inspector and the local sheriff’s office and demand immediate payment from the buyer in writing. Ask the buyer to return the horse to you. If payment is not made and the buyer refuses to return the horse, recourse is in the civil courts. Alerting the brand inspector may help avoid the buyer’s selling the horse to a third party, but the inspector cannot seize the animal for you. The better practice is to ensure that the check clears before the blue copy of the brand inspection certificate is given to the buyer.
What do I do if a brand inspection was completed and the buyer backed out after the inspection?
Advise the brand inspector and he/she will reverse the transaction by noting that the buyer refused delivery.
What information must be contained in a “legal bill of sale”?
The bill of sale must contain (1) the seller’s name, address, and contact information (including email address if applicable), (2) the buyer’s name, address, and contact information (including email address if applicable), (3) a complete description of the livestock being purchased (species, number of head, color, sex, breed, markings (including brands, if any), and registrations numbers if applicable. For cattle, the description should also include ear marks, dewlaps and waddles. The bill of sale must be signed by both seller and buyer in the presence of a witness, who must also sign, and it must be dated as of the date of the sale/transfer of ownership. As noted above, the blue copy of the brand inspection certificate serves as a bill of sale.
Do I need to get a brand inspection if I am giving my horse away, not selling it?
Yes. See first question above.
Do I need to get a brand inspection if I am donating my horse to a horse rescue?
Yes. See first question above.
Do I need to get a brand inspection if I am leasing a horse to someone? If I have a permanent travel card for my horse, can I just give the card to the person leasing the horse?
It is not necessary to get a brand inspection when leasing a horse unless the horse is being transported over 75 miles within Colorado or to a destination outside Colorado. If that is the case, a brand inspection is necessary and the pink copy of the brand inspection certificate should be given to the lessee. If you have a permanent travel card, no brand inspection would be required to lease the horse irrespective of transport distance. However, a permanent travel card is personal to the owner of the horse and should not be given to the lessee. Providing the lessee with a copy of the card and a letter signed by the lessor identifying the lessee as a person authorized to have the horse in his/her possession will help clear up any potential confusion.
Do I need to get a Colorado brand inspection on a horse bought from a non-brand state? If so, how long do I have to get one after the horse enters Colorado?
If you want to transfer ownership of the horse, or travel over 75 miles within Colorado or to a destination outside Colorado, you will need to get a brand inspection. If you never do any of those things, you do not need a brand inspection. The best practice is to get a brand inspection as soon as possible to head off any potential future problems and give you the flexibility to sell or give the horse away or transport when you want to.
What happens if I buy a horse from another state and it has the same brand as a Colorado registered brand owned by another person?
Be sure you have a brand inspection certificate from the state in which you bought the horse, and contact the Colorado Brand Office to head off any confusion going forward.
If I am buying a horse or am receiving one as a gift, what should I require from the seller/giver?
See the answer to What Information Must I Have to Obtain a Brand Inspection above. You will want the seller/giver to have obtained a brand inspection identifying you as the new owner. If the seller/giver is unable to get a brand inspection because he cannot prove that he is the owner of the horse being sold/given to you, you should not go forward with the sale/gift without first contacting your brand inspector and determining what is necessary to resolve the problem.
What should I do if my brand inspector is not available when I want to sell my horse?
Talk with your brand inspector. If he/she can’t be available on the planned date of sale and that date cannot be changed, he/she may be able to arrange to have the horse looked at by the inspector at the receiving end of the transaction. Do not proceed without first contacting your brand inspector and making whatever arrangements can be made to accommodate the situation.
Can I transport livestock over 75 miles within Colorado without first getting a brand inspection, and then just get one at the transport destination?
Not without first arranging that with your local brand inspector.
I have had a cow/horse since it was a month old. Can I say it was “home raised”?
No. “Home raised” refers to livestock that did not originate elsewhere. For example, if a cow or horse you own calves or foals, the calf or foal would be classified as home raised. Otherwise, the animal came from somewhere, and you need to have the necessary documents to establish your ownership.
Is it bad to say that an animal was “home raised” if it wasn’t?
Yes. That could be charged as an attempt to influence a public servant by deceit (lying to a brand inspector), which is a class 4 felony potentially punishable by payment of a fine, imprisonment, or both.
What is the penalty for failing to get a brand inspection?
Failure to get a brand inspection is a misdemeanor punishable upon conviction by a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not less than 90 days nor more than one year, or both. Upon a second conviction, the fine ranges from $500 to $1,000 and prospective jail time remains the same. A third violation is a class 6 felony.
How long is a brand inspection good for?
Change of ownership. If a brand inspection is conducted in connection with a change of ownership (whether by sale or gift), the blue copy of the brand inspection certificate (which is the bill of sale copy) is given to the new owner/transferee, and that copy constitutes a bill or sale and is valid proof of ownership until the new owner transfers ownership of the livestock.
Transportation. If livestock is transported over 75 miles within Colorado or to a destination outside Colorado, the owner must first obtain a brand inspection each time that occurs. Ownership does not change as a result of such inspections, so the bill of sale portion of the brand inspection certificate is not filled out, and the certificate is issued solely for the purpose of permitting transport by the owner. The transport brand inspection certificate is good for 10 days.
Permanent Travel Card. If the owner of a horse wishes to avoid having to get a brand inspection each time the horse is transported over 75 miles within Colorado or to a destination outside Colorado, he/she can obtain a “permanent travel card” (discussed below). That permanent travel card is further evidence of ownership of the horse and it permits the holder to travel within and without Colorado without having to first get a brand inspection. A permanent travel card is good for as long as the holder owns the horse.
What is a “permanent travel card” for horses, and how much does it cost?
A permanent travel card is a one-time inspection certificate that provides evidence of ownership for you for as long as you own the horse. It is not transferable. It is valuable both as a time saver and a cost saver if you often travel over 75 miles within Colorado or out of Colorado – to events, shows, ropings, cuttings, etc. – because you do not have to arrange for a brand inspection for each such trip. See www.colorado.gov/agbrands Fee Schedule for the cost.
If I lose my brand inspection certificate or permanent travel card, how do I replace it?
Call the Brand Office (303.869.9160).
How do I report missing or stolen livestock?
Contact your local brand inspector immediately and he/she will help you file a Missing or Stolen Report.
What do I do if I find stray livestock on my property? Can I keep it or sell it?
If you know the owner of the livestock, you must call him/her and request that he/she pick up the livestock as quickly as possible. Pending the owner’s doing so, you are responsible for the care and feeding of the livestock, and you may charge a reasonable fee as determined by your local market for such care and feeding. If you do not know the owner of the livestock, you must report the strays to your brand inspector no later than 5 days after you notice them. Failure to do so is a felony. Until the brand inspector takes custody of the animal, you are responsible for its care and feeding and will be reimbursed a reasonable amount for such care and feeding as determined by your local market.
In no circumstances may you keep or dispose of the stray livestock.
I run a boarding facility. Can I keep an animal as payment for unpaid board?
No. Contact your brand inspector. One of two avenues for resolving the problem may be available to you – agistor’s lien, or abandonment. Each has its pluses and minuses. Neither permits you to keep or dispose of the animal.
How do I get a brand?
Contact the Brand Office (303.869.9160) or go to www.colorado.gov/agbrands and review the brand application process.
Is ownership of a brand transferable?
Yes. Contact the Brand Office (303.869-9160) or to go and review the brand transfer instructions.