CASTLE ROCK, Colo. (CBS4) – New recommendations presented to the town council in Castle Rock are reviewing all animal ordinances that have not been changed since 1993, including turning a breed ban into a policy that would examine behavior instead to determine if a dog is dangerous.
“Every town should be doing this honestly,” said Jen Dudley, the organizer for End Castle Rock Breed Specific Legislation. “Whether or not they have breed bans.”
Ordinances include the current policy that does not allow pit bulls or two other similar breeds as pets. Other issues that will be examined by town staff and council include how many chickens residents can own and more specific guidelines for having bees in Castle Rock.
Staff from the town attorney’s office have researched possible changes to all animal ordinances including the breed ban and provided those to the council at its weekly meeting. This is the third time councilors have discussed the issue. The review began a year ago and the public has given feedback throughout the process and still share their comments with officials. Council decided Monday night to schedule two more public hearings before taking any vote.
“A law abiding citizen and their dog are following all the rules,” said Dudley. “Nothing is happening and now our taxpayer money is being wasted on our animal control officer having to come in and measure 27 points of a dog to determine oh yes they’re dangerous, or no they’re not.”
The recommendations on the breed ban specifically call for a move to behavior, looking at the actions of a dog to determine if there is a threat to a person or another animal. The two categories that would be created are “Dangerous” and “Potentially Dangerous” depending on if a dog caused seriously bodily injuries or less serious injuries, respectively.
“Measuring dogs that don’t do anything is not a good use of our taxpayer money and law enforcement’s time,” Dudley said of the current policy.
Town staff have also pointed out that it is difficult for law enforcement to determine if a dog is a banned breed and it also may be unfair to pet owners and dogs that are not harming anyone else and following all other regulations.
“The big thing is, it’s a violation of your personal property rights,” Dudley said. “That does nothing for public safety, we should be rewarding responsible owners.”
Supporters of a breed ban point to statistics showing that the majority of human deaths in the country from dogs were pit bulls, according to DogsBite.org. The site also highlights towns where a ban has lead to a decline in attacks.
A majority of residents that responded to the town’s request for input were in favor of lifting the ban. The comments collected by staff included a few people that lived outside of Castle Rock but a majority were within the town limits.
“Looking at your laws over time constantly is just responsible governing,” said Dudley.