There is very good news after Tuesday’s vote from Denver. Voters there approved Denver Measure 2J, which changes the 1989 ban on pit bulls in the city. With 64.5% in support of the measure, it also won with an overwhelming majority. Although Pit Bull owners didn’t lift the ban immediately, they did get a way to legally own their dogs. You must register your dogs with Denver Animal Protection in order to receive a breed restriction license. You must be limited to two per household. The dogs must be microchipped and this license has a higher fee than other dog breeds. They must also provide a full description of their dogs, provide two emergency contacts, and obviously be up to date with a rabies vaccination. If at the end of a three year period the dog has no injury, the pit is allowed to be registered like all other dogs in the city.
City law defines a pit bull as a dog that is deemed to be an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or “any dog that exhibits most of the physical characteristics of one or more of the above breeds”. The city uses the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club standards for these dogs to define these traits.
The councilor driving force behind this repeal, Alderman Chris Herndon, has argued that race-specific laws are not only ineffective, but often target color communities. See the full ballot.
It took the community and lawmakers 30 years to change this pit bull ban. Leading advocacy group Replace Denver BSL led the campaign and their website offers a wealth of information on race laws. We congratulate them and the city council for supporting this measure.