Dog lovers everywhere, rejoice! The good people of Denver have overwhelmingly voted to end the city’s 31-year ban on Pit Bulls, mixes and dogs that happen to look like Pit Bulls.
Denver’s Pit Bull ban was one of the most notorious in the world. It was enacted back in 1989 after a 3-year-old boy wandered into his neighbor’s yard and was fatally attacked by an unspayed Pit Bull who was chained to a carport, according to the Denver Post. Three years earlier, another of the owner’s dogs had bitten an 8-year-old boy. Because of that one irresponsible owner 30 years ago, thousands of Denver residents have had to make the terrible choice of finding a new home for themselves or their beloved dogs, or surrendering their pets to the city to be euthanized.
Back in February, the Denver City Council voted to end the Pit Bull ban, but Mayor Michael Hancock overruled their decision. Fortunately, City Councilman Christopher Herndon, who had proposed ending the ban, introduced November ballot Measure 2J, leaving the decision up to Denver voters. More than 64% of them voted to end the ban.
Breed-specific legislation (BSL) — unfair laws, including breed bans, that single out dogs only because of how they look — has proven to be ineffective in increasing public safety and expensive to enforce wherever it’s been enacted. Thank you, Denver voters, for realizing this and ending your city’s ban.
There will, however, still be special requirements for Denver owners of Pit Bulls and mixes. The owners will have had to register their dogs with Denver Animal Protection, obtain a breed-restricted license, and have no more than two Pit Bulls. Yes, these requirements that single out certain dog breeds are still BSL (and B.S.), but removing the ban was an extremely important first step.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Denver voters who supported Measure 2J! You’ve literally helped to save countless innocent lives.
Photo: Those were my first two Pitties, Sophie and Larry, enjoying a mind meld.