The Denver City Council passed a new code in a 7-4 vote that would allow its residents to own a pit bull as long as they register their dog with the Denver Animal Protection (DAP) and get a breed-restricted license. For the past 30 years, owning a pit bull in Denver was illegal.
But it doesn’t come without a long list of requirements:
– In order to obtain a license, owners must provide the name and address of the dog, two emergency contacts, and a complete description of the dog.
– Owners will also have to prove that their pit bull was microchipped, has current rabies vaccinations, and has been spayed or neutered.
– Each household is limited to a maximum of owning two pit bulls.
– Owners are required to notify the DAP within eight hours if their pit bull runs away from home or bites another dog/person, and must notify them within 24 hours if the dog dies or the owner moves.
– If your pit bull has no violations in the first three years, the DAP can reevaluate the dog and owners can then license them like any other dog.
– And to top it all off, owners will have to pay an annual fee to the city to maintain the license.
According to the Denver City Council, the new law will come into effect in the next 90 days.
This change to the code allowing pit bulls to be licensed passed council on a 7-4 vote. The new law will take effect in 90 days.
— Denver City Council (@DenCityCouncil) February 11, 2020
Some residents have supported the new code, while others fear for their safety.
Pit bulls as a breed have been targeted with negative stereotypes for years:
“Laws that ban particular breeds of dogs do not achieve these aims and instead create the illusion, but not the reality, of enhanced public safety,” the organization said in their position statement on pit bulls.
“Notably, there are no statewide laws that discriminate based on dog breed, and 18 states have taken the proactive step of expressly banning laws that single out particular breeds for disparate legal treatment,” they added. “All dogs, including pit bulls, are individuals. Treating them as such, providing them with the care, training, and supervision they require, and judging them by their actions and not by their DNA or their physical appearance is the best way to ensure that dogs and people can continue to share safe and happy lives together.”
The ASPCA also explained that “dogs of many breeds can be selectively bred or trained to develop aggressive traits,” and not just pit bulls.
“Therefore the responsible ownership of any dog requires a commitment to proper socialization, humane training and conscientious supervision,” the organization wrote. “Despite our best efforts, there will always be dogs of various breeds that are simply too dangerous to live safely in society. We can effectively address the danger posed by these dogs by supporting the passage and vigorous enforcement of laws that focus, not on breed, but on people’s responsibility for their dogs’ behavior, including measures that hold owners of all breeds accountable for properly housing, supervising and controlling their dogs.”