DENVER (CBS4) – For 30 years, it’s been illegal to own a pit bull in the city of Denver. But that could change after the city council voted to remove the ban.

(credit: CBS)

The Denver City Council passed a new code in a 7-4 vote Monday allowing owners to register their pit bull with the Denver Animal Protection and get a breed-restricted license. Owners will need to provide a name and address for the dog, proof of microchipping, vaccination, neutering or spaying, and two emergency contacts. An annual fee will also be required to maintain the license, a tweet from the Denver City Council said.

The new law will take effect in 90 days if approved by Mayor Michael Hancock.

In response to CBS4 about whether Hancock will sign the proposal, his office stated, “Mayor Hancock wants to be thoughtful regarding his decision about this, and as such he hasn’t decided to sign the ordinance or not at this time.”

“I think that (the current law) is archaic and based on bad information,” one supporter of the measure told the City Council Monday night.

Additional conditions of the new law include notifying DAP if the dog escapes, bites someone, or dies. It also limits the number of pit bulls in one home to two.

(credit: Xavier ROSSI/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

If no violations of the code occur within three years, owners of registered dogs can remove the requirement for a breed-restricted license and license the dog under the same requirements as other dogs in Denver.

The previous law, enacted in 1989, banned the breed from the city of Denver. They remain banned in the nearby cities of Aurora, Commerce City, Lone Tree, Fort Lupton and Louisville.

“My wife and I walk a seven mile circuit in Montbello for exercise. Over a 10 year period we were attacked 3 times,” said an opponent of the measure.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)

Comments (14)
  1. simon lee says:

    YES!! Let’s get rid of this archaic and ineffective law. A waste of public resources. THANK YOU!!

  2. Jenny in Denver says:

    BSL is discriminatory and multiple peer-reviewed studies have found it to be ineffective for public safety. It *does not* keep any dogs of a certain appearance/breed out of Denver (Denver animal control can attest to this) and it *does not* prevent irresponsible ownership. On the contrary, it keeps responsible owners away from Denver. This update is a very reasonable compromise which will only promote *responsible ownership* while still focusing on public safety. I 100% support this and hopefully BSL will be repealed entirely in the future. But this is a great step.

  3. Gini Barrett says:

    The current law saves lives. Human lives, other pets, and the lives of pit bulls themselves. The ban has been very successful. Denver has not had serious maulings or fatalities since they began enforcing it in the early 2000s. Do not confuse dog “bites” and serious dog maulings. Lifting the ban will mean that no one can feel safe on the streets, in parks, or public areas where people can bring their dogs. The only question is who gets to pay the price? It won’t be the pit bull owners. But Denver is sentencing other pets and people to death for no good reason. Why the recent killing of a local pet by an illegal pit bull in Cherry Creek Park didn’t serve as an example is beyond me. But hey, the pit lobby is well organized and well-funded. The City Council are cowards and fools.

  4. Tim (denver) says:

    BSL is ineffective and these are wonderful dogs. This measure represents a logical and responsible balance between responsible owners and public safety. Great job, Denver! Thank you to the council members that voted Yes for this.

  5. John Randal says:

    Thank you @Julie for sharing this: https://www.fataldogattacks.org
    The ban needs to be repealed.
    Let’s go Denver!!

  6. jason denver says:

    I fully support this change, BSL is entirely ineffective (multiple studies have confirmed this) and if you think that “pitbulls” have the strongest bite you are 100% mistaken. This change supports responsible citizens, recent science, and expert information on the issue of BSL. Lastly, it is completely ridiculous to judge entire populations (breed groups) of dogs based on their appearance because of the negative incidents of a few. 100% support this change to end the archaic and discriminatory ban. THANK YOU DENVER for supporting facts and science instead of stereotypes and fear-based misinformation.

  7. Harve Morgan says:

    Yesterday a 5 year old child in my area was killed by the family’s 12 year old pit bull, one they raised right from a puppy. And you vote to bring this killing breed back into your city? You catered to a bunch of lawbreakers who wanted you to change the law for them? Why don’t you make drunk driving legal too while you’re at it? You have shown total disregard for public safety so give the drunk drivers a break, they vote in Denver too. All you pit defenders come on down and sit with this mother in Oro Grande at the closed casket of her child. Then maybe you can see what this mutant canine breed is doing, or do you even care?

  8. Nancy says:

    Great news and a solid step in the right direction. It’s not surprising that Denver is working to upgrade their animal control regs as these archaic and discriminatory dog bans (that are based solely on a dog’s appearance/breed) have been problematic for many cities and have therefore been a trend in decline for a number of years… over 30+ cities have repealed these bans since only 2018 including Castle Rock and Fort Lupton here in CO. This change will allow Denver to better address relevant public safety factors such as a dog’s behavior, history of aggression, irresponsible ownership, and neglect – instead of arbitrarily discriminating against great dogs and responsible citizens because of their dog’s appearance. Good for Denver!

  9. merrittclifton says:

    Over the past 30 years Denver has been the only major league city (baseball or football) which has never had a fatal pit bull attack, while pit bulls have killed at least 485 people elsewhere around the U.S. Most major league cities have had multiple fatal pit bull attacks over just the past five years, as well as many disfiguring maulings. Now Denver is inviting the same sort of mayhem, & will soon experience it, since nothing in the new bylaw acts to prevent attacks from occurring.

  10. Julie says:

    Thank you Denver for finally getting rid of the discriminatory ban! BSL is ineffective, obsolete, and is not supported by best practices for public safety that focus on relevant factors related to incidents such as behavior, aggression, and irresponsible ownership. There have been 40+ breeds and mixes implicated in fatal attacks over the last several years which is why strong breed-neutral regulations (leash laws etc.) are more important and more effective: https://www.fataldogattacks.org/

  11. Julie says:

    Thank you Denver for finally getting rid of the discriminatory ban! BSL is ineffective, obsolete, and is not supported by practices for public safety that focus on relevant factors related to incidents such as behavior, aggression, and irresponsible ownership. There have been 40+ breeds and mixes that have been in implicated in fatal attacks over the last several years which is why strong breed-neutral regulations (leash laws etc.) are more important and more effective: https://www.fataldogattacks.org/

  12. Why does city council ignore the will of the people who overwhelmingly wanted this ban? These can be great dogs, until they’re not. I’m sure the parents of kids killed by these dogs in the future will take no solace in knowing that they were required to be licensed. Licensed to kill as were.

  13. Justin B in Denver says:

    Thank you Denver City Council for doing the right thing! Discrimination against great dogs and responsible owners has finally come to an end in Denver. For the council members that voted against this proposal, I will be campaigning and voting against you in the next election.

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