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Repeal Denver's Misguided Ban On Pit Bulls

15,881 signatures toward our 50,000 Goal

31.76% Complete

Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Stand up for pit bull breeds and their families who face unjust discrimination in Denver, Colorado


Can you imagine moving to a new city only to learn that your dog has been banned, not because they did anything wrong, but simply because of their breed? In the city of Denver, Colorado, this is reality.

For 30 years, Denver has banned ownership of pit bulls. Under Denver's Ordinance Sec. 8-67, pit bull breeds (American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier) are banned in the City and County of Denver[1], which passed the ban in 1989 after two attacks resulting in death and serious injury[2].

There is little proof that pit bull bans result in safer communities. According to the ASPCA[3], these laws enforce the unwarranted stigma that certain breeds are naturally aggressive, and further the misconception that the public is best served by such restrictions.

"Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is the blanket term for laws that either regulate or ban certain dog breeds in an effort to decrease dog attacks on humans and other animals. However, the problem of dangerous dogs will not be remedied by the "quick fix" of breed-specific laws - or, as they should truly be called, breed-discriminatory laws," the ASPCA claims.

"Following a thorough study of human fatalities resulting from dog bites, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to strongly oppose BSL," the ASPCA reports. "The CDC cited, among other problems, the inaccuracy of dog bite data and the difficulty in identifying dog breeds (especially true of mixed-breed dogs). Breed-specific laws are also costly and difficult to enforce."

A study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association[4] indicates that pit bulls are not disproportionately dangerous compared with other dogs. More than 100 cities have repealed their breed-specific legislation entirely. It's time for Denver to do the same.

Some states have put breed-indiscriminate systems in place regulate dangerous dogs individually, targeting only those dogs who have demonstrated aggressiveness toward humans. Adopting a similar system for the Denver would be safer for residents and prevent families with pit bulls from being torn apart.

Recently, the Denver city council voted 7-4 to repeal the ban[5]. But Denver Mayor Michael vetoed the repeal despite all evidence from the ASPCA, AMVA, and other prominent organizations. He stated that after hearing from thousands of Denver residents and animal experts, he could not "in good conscience support this legislation."

Join us in sending a message to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. It's time to repeal this ineffective pit bull ban, and replace it with a system that regulates truly aggressive dogs on an individual basis, regardless of breed. Sign today!

  1. "Animal Protection," City and County of Denver; retrieved Feb. 19, 2020
  2. "Lifting Pit Bull Ban: Denver Considers Allowing Bully Breeds, With Restrictions," Tori Mason, CBS; January 22, 2020
  3. "What Is Breed-Specific Legislation?" ASPCA; retrieved Feb. 19, 2020
  4. "Why Breed-specific Legislation Is not the Answer," American Veterinary Medical Association; retrieved Feb. 19, 2020 
  5. "Pit bull ban in Denver remains after mayor vetoes vote to repeal," Ella Torres, ABC News; February 15, 2020
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The Petition:

Dear Mayor Michael Hancock,

Upholding breed-specific legislation (BSL) in Denver is not an effective response to aggressiveness in dogs. It's a costly and difficult rule to enforce, completely unfair, and leads to the deaths of thousands of loving animals.

If a breed ban is instituted in your community, law enforcement officials may be forced to take dogs away from their loving families and place them in already crowded animal shelters, where they will most likely be killed. Families can file lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the ordinances, but that can be expensive.

The CDC, ASPCA, American Veterinary Medical Association and other groups have years of data surrounding BSL communities, showing little indication that these laws make residents any safer than they would be without.

Some communities  have put breed-indiscriminate systems in place to identify, track and regulate dangerous dogs individually, targeting only those dogs who have demonstrated aggressiveness toward humans. Mayor Hancock, we want you to adopt a similar system for the City of Denver.

Sincerely,

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Signatures: