Denver Pit Bulls Get a Reprieve

Voters approve a measure that provides a “pathway” for lawful registration
By The Bark Editors, November 2020, Updated June 2021
denver pitbull law

There is very good news after Tuesday’s vote from Denver. The voters there approved Denver Measure 2J that modifies the ban on Pit Bulls that the city has had since 1989. It won overwhelmingly too with 64.5% in support to the measure. While not repealing the ban outright, Pit Bull owners were given a path to legally own their dogs. They will have to register their dogs with the Denver Animal Protection to obtain a breed-restricted license, be limited to two per household, the dogs must be microchipped and this license will have a higher fee than other dog breeds. They will also have to provide a full description of their dogs, provide two emergency contacts and, obviously, be current with a rabies vaccination. Then at the end of a three year period, if the dog doesn’t have any violation, the Pit would be allowed to be registered in the city like all other dogs.

City law defines a Pit Bull as any dog considered an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or “any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds.” The city uses the American Kennel Club and United Kennel Club standards for these dogs to define those traits.

The moving force on the city council behind this repeal, Councilman Chris Herndon, has argued that breed-specific legislation is not only ineffective but often targets communities of color. See the full ballot measure.

It took the community and lawmakers 30 years to modify that Pit Bull ban. The leading advocacy group Replace Denver BSL spearheaded the campaign and their website provides a wealth of information about breed specific legislation. We congratulate them and the city council for supporting this measure.

Photo: Justin Veenema / Unsplash