A new federal regulation regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act could make Denver's strict pit bull ban much more difficult to enforce in the future.
The ADA ruled pit bulls can be used as service dogs, even in cities like Denver and Aurora where breed bans are in place.
Allen Grider, Sr. won his fight to keep his pit bull-boxer mix.
"She's just my lover dog, you know. And that's why I named her Precious," said Grider.
Precious was confiscated for five and a half months while Grider, a Vietnam veteran, battled in court to have her returned. Grider's attorneys argued Precious was a service dog.
"I do have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And she helps me. She sleeps by my bed. If I'm experiencing PTSD, she'll wake me up. She'll bring me out of it. She's very good at that," he said.
The ADA regulation would trump all local bans, allowing pit bulls, like Precious, as service dogs and restricting animal control officers to just two questions when confronting owners.
"They can ask, 'Is that a service dog?' And, 'What task does that dog perform?'" said Denver City Councilwoman Carla Madison.
Madison said the new loophole now opens the door to less restrictive bans. She's asking the city council to consider further exemptions for owners who take dog training classes, register their pit bulls, and retrofit their fences and homes to be safer.
"I'm not saying they're all good dogs. But, I just think to single out one specific breed and say they're all evil and should be put down -- I think that is overstating the case," said Madison.
"It's all in how you raise them. A dog is a dog. Precious is not the vicious one, I am," said Grider.
The Denver City Council health and safety committee discussed the ADA ruling at a meeting on Tuesday. The council will likely discuss the ruling at a council meeting in October and implement the new federal regulations in March.
Until then, all cases involving pit bulls as possible service dogs will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Denver has one of the most restrictive pit bull bans in the nation. It has been in place since 1989 and it has withstood at least three challenges in federal court.
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