DENVER (CBS4) – They accuse the city of Denver of violating federal law. On Friday more than 100 critics of the city’s pit bull ban rallied at the City and County Building.
City councilwoman Carla Madison may be a sympathizer.
“Not all pit bulls are great dogs but not all breeds of any dog are great dogs,” Madison said. “I just don’t think it’s right to single them out.”
But she’s in the minority. Councilman Charlie Brown sides with the majority of councilmembers.
“What spurred this ban was a 3-year-old child in southwest Denver being killed by a pit bull, mauled to death,” Brown said.
Like most his colleagues, Brown recently voted against amending the pit bull ban to accommodate service dogs. But the issue has momentum because Denver could be in violation of the government’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ADA forbids the banning of any breed as a service dog.
“I have an anxiety disorder and I use my pit bull to calm my disorder,” disabled veteran Jesse Eastburn said.
Eastburn lives outside the city but attends classes and works in Denver. By law, his dog must stay home.
“I have to suck it up and deal with it because I chose to pick a pit bull to be my service dog,” he said.
March 15 is the deadline for Denver to comply with ADA.
“If we’re looking at a federal mandate that the city doesn’t want to comply with and federal government has to drag them into court, we’re not talking about a couple bucks, we’re talking about a few million dollars,” organizer David Edelstein said.
Rally organizers say it will be interesting to see how the city pays for a lawsuit when it already faces huge budget shortfalls in a weak economy.
Denver put its pit bull ban in place in the late 1980s. Since then there have been no deadly or serious injury attacks by the dogs in the city.