By Audra Streetman

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Aurora City Council will vote on competing ordinances to potentially repeal the city’s pit bull ban. One ordinance, sponsored by council member Allison Hiltz, would give city council the authority to eliminate the breed restrictions.

(credit: CBS)

Mayor Mike Coffman introduced a competing ordinance at Monday’s study session, which would allow voters to decide on the future of the pit bull ban in the 2021 municipal election. Coffman’s ordinance failed on a vote of 4-7, but the mayor said he would bring it up for another vote at the Dec. 21 council meeting.

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Hiltz’ ordinance passed out of the study session on a vote of 7-4. If the city council votes to repeal the breed restrictions, it would overrule a 2014 election where 64% of Aurora voters opposed an ordinance allowing pit bulls in the city.

Council members Berzins, Bergen and Gruber agreed with Coffman that the repeal should go for a vote of the people. As a result, the council will vote on both ordinances.

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During Monday’s study session, Berzins asked Hiltz, “How do you think you can go around the vote of the people when 64% voted for the ban? How does this council just say ‘Sorry, you were wrong, we know better than you. We’re going to do whatever the heck we want to do.'”

“When this went to the voters it was an advisory question,” Hiltz replied. “We did not have a dangerous dog ordinance in place. We did not have that robust outreach with animal services where we’ve seen that the survey results have come back in support of a repeal. Things have changed since then.”

Aurora Manager of Animal Services Anthony Youngblood presented city data on restricted breeds at Monday’s study session. He estimates it costs the city 2.5 times as much money, on average, to shelter a restricted breed.

(credit: CBS)

Dog bites by restricted breeds make up nearly 12% of all dog bites reported to the city in 2020 and nearly 16% of all bites in 2019. So far this year, the city has issued 253 summons following calls about restricted breeds.

Mayor Coffman’s proposed ballot language would be identical to a measure passed in Denver allowing pit bulls in the city. In Denver, owners are required to pay an annual fee for a provisional permit and get their dogs microchipped. There is also a limit of two pit bulls per home.

“The fundamental difference between the 2014 ballot question and the proposed language for my ballot question is that mine speaks to the safety concerns/requirements for having such an animal while the 2014 ballot language had no such requirements,” Coffman added.

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Audra Streetman