Denver City Council approves ending pit bull ban

State
Buster, a Pitbull, enjoys some play time at Cambria County Humane Society near Johnstown, Pa., Monday, Dec.11, 2017. Buster is a candidate for a doggy walking wheels.(Todd Berkey/Tribune-Democrat via AP)

Buster, a Pitbull, enjoys some play time at Cambria County Humane Society near Johnstown, Pa., Monday, Dec.11, 2017. Buster is a candidate for a doggy walking wheels.(Todd Berkey/Tribune-Democrat via AP)

DENVER — The Denver City Council approved a measure Monday night that will end the city’s longstanding ban on pit bull ownership and install a new licensing system for the dogs.

The measure passed 7-4. Council members Kendra Black, Jolon Clark, Chris Herndon, Chris Hinds, Robin Kniech, Amanda Sandoval and Jamie Torres voted in favor. Council members Kevin Flynn, Paul Kashmann, Debbie Ortega and Amanda Sawyer were opposed. Council members Candi CdeBaca and Stacie Gilmore were not present.

The change was proposed by Herndon, who represents a portion of northeast Denver that includes the Park Hill and Stapleton neighborhoods.

Under a law enacted in August 1989, pit bulls are banned in the city and county of Denver.

Herndon’s proposal would require pit bull owners to obtain a “breed-restricted license.” Applicants would provide the city with their address, two emergency contacts, a description of the pit bull, an annual fee, and proof the dog was microchipped and has its rabies vaccination.

Each owner could have a maximum of two pit bulls per household. Every dog must be spayed or neutered.

Additionally, the owner must notify Denver Animal Protection (DAP) within eight hours if the dog escapes or bites. The owner must also contact DAP if the dog dies or if the owner moves.

If a registered pit bull has no violations within 36 months, the breed-restricted license could be replaced with a regular dog license that all other dog owners in the city are required to have.

Under Herndon’s proposal, DAP would be the only agency to provide valid pit bull breed assessments.

DAP could hold, transport and adopt any pit bull. Pit bulls adopted from DAP will get a breed-restricted license.

While any humane society registered with the city could also hold, transport and adopt pit bulls, new owners would have to get a breed-restricted license from the city following adoption.

According to the proposal, DAP would be able to inspect an owner’s premises for “safety and health reasons.”

Finally, after a two-year period, DAP will review the data and report its findings and recommendations to City Council.

If an owner does not apply for the special license, they would be subject to criminal and/or administrative penalties.

The proposal now heads to Mayor Michael Hancock’s desk.

Other metro-area municipalities with pit bull bans include Aurora, Commerce City and Lone Tree.

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