BREAKING NEWS, February 14, 2020
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced on Friday that he has decided to veto Denver City Council’s decision to lift the 30-year American pit bull terrier breed ban.
Hancock said he spoke to experts in veterinary care and animal control to get a better understanding of what the change could have meant for the city.
The ban will remain in place despite the council’s 7-4 vote for repeal.
I have heard from thousands of residents passionately expressing their opinions on both sides of this issue. After deep reflection and consideration, I find that I cannot, in good conscience, support this legislation and will exercise my authority as Mayor to veto it. pic.twitter.com/I5pnhM7elV
— Michael B. Hancock (@MayorHancock) February 15, 2020
City lawmakers passed a bill in 1989 that completely banned any “pit bull type” dog from living within city limits. The ban was an attempt to protect citizens from dog attacks after a 3-year-old was fatally attacked in Denver in October 1986.
Denver voters chose to lift the 31-year-old ban in November.
But there have always been animal advocates speaking out against breed discrimination.
“These breeds are no different than every other breed,” said Denver council member Chris Herndon.
In a 7-4 vote on Monday, their voices were finally heard. Ballot Measure 2J, which lift’s the city’s breed ban as of January, had earned 64% of the vote as 10 p.m. Tuesday.
The Denver City Council voted to approve a bill that allows Denver residents to own pit bulls.
Two other major cities have now repealed their pit bull bans: Aurora, and Commerce City. It is now legal to own pit bulls in all three cities.
Pit bulls will be allowed in Colorado’s capital city for the first time in three decades.
Lawmakers enacted the original ban under a belief that any dog deemed a “pit bull” is inherently more aggressive than other breeds.
The law used “pit bull” as an umbrella term to refer to the American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bulldog, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and any mixed breed dog with similar characteristics.
Recent studies and research, however, show no evidence that pit bulls are any more dangerous than other dog breeds.
Those opposed to the ban argued that restrictions should be enforced based on a dog’s individual behavior and not its breed.
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The American Veterinary Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Bar Association, and the Humane Society of the United States are all large organizations that have publicly opposed all breed-specific legislation.
Denver will allow pit bulls, but the new law does not completely erase restrictions.
The new ordinance requires pit bull owners to register their dogs with Denver Animal Protection and obtain a special permit called a “breed-restricted permit”.
The license requires detailed information about the dog including two emergency contacts. The new city policy also limits pet owners to two pit bulls per household.
The process includes a breed assessment that will take 30-45 minutes and will be conducted by trained professionals at the Denver Animal Shelter.
The restrictions go on to say dog owners must notify authorities within eight hours if a dog runs away. They must also notify Denver Animal Protection if they move to a new address or if the dog dies.
If after three years the pit bull breed has shown good behavior, Denver Animal Protection will replace the breed-restricted license with a normal dog license.
If Mayor Michael Hancock signs the new law, the repeal will go into effect in 90 days.
h/t: The Washington Post
Do you love pit bulls? Read this story of a terminally ill pit bull fulfilling his bucket list.