DENVER (CBS4)– As a Denver City Councilmember looks to repeals the decades-old breed ban on pit bulls, advocates for the ban are warning the city of unintended consequences. Councilman Chris Herndon says breed-specific bans are ineffective, as there are still pit bulls in Denver.
Pit bull breeds, which include the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, have been banned in Denver for more than 30 years.
“You lift that ban and the breed of these dogs is going to explode,” said Colleen Lynn, the founder of Dogsbite.org.
Lynn says she was attacked in 2007 while out on a run in Seattle.
“I was bitten in the forearm. That bone was shattered,” she said. “there’s just so many attacks, every single day I just said I have to do something.”
Dogsbite.org tracks mauling cases and fatalities. It says pit bulls as a breed represent 66% of human deaths. The group also holds up the Denver metro area as a standard because of bans in Denver and Aurora have kept human attacks to a minimum.
“There’s been 14 Level 1 Trauma center studies, in all geographical regions, saying that pit bulls are inflicting the highest prevalence of injuries and the highest severity. Fourteen medical studies since 2011. In these medical studies the Denver region is used as a control factor because Denver is the only region in the U.S. where they’re not seeing these same results,” Lynn said.
Pit bull advocates say they’re no different than other dogs and that’s the reason Herndon is looking to change Denver’s laws.
“This bill provides the opportunity where they come out of the shadows,” Herndon said. “This is a very good compromise. Create the breed restriction license, let’s take time to demonstrate they’re no diff than any other animal.”
Many human societies and animal shelters around the Denver area support the repeal. They argue it’s better for owners and the dogs.
Lynn worries a repeal of the ban will make people less safe.
“The reason why the ban was enacted was to prevent first attacks. The idea is to prevent first severe maulings,” she said.
The first reading of the repeal of the breed ban will be heard on Jan. 22.