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Denver city council sends measure on pit bull ban to November ballot

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Posted at 12:07 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 18:06:21-04

DENVER — The Denver City Council on Monday night voted to include a measure that would create a permitting system for pit bulls on the November ballot.

The system would bring end to Denver's 31-year-old ban on pit bulls.

The council passed a similar permitting ordinance for the breed earlier this year, but Mayor Michael Hancock vetoed the measure in February, saying pit bulls pose a "very real risk to severe injury."

In his veto letter, Hancock also argued that less than 20% of all pets in Denver are currently licensed, which "raises significant questions about the effectiveness of this proposed new system," adding that additional efforts around responsible dog ownership and dog licensure and registration are needed before considering a repeal of the pit bull ban.

The veto was Hancock's first veto in nine years in office.

Councilmember Chris Herndon proposed the repeal of the pit bull ban in January. Under Herndon's plan, a pit bull owner would have to register with Denver Animal Protection and get the dog a breed-restricted license. The owner would have to provide the name and home address of the dog, plus two emergency contacts, an accurate description of the dog and proof that the animal was micro-chipped and had received an up-to-date rabies vaccination.

The pit bull would be on probation for 36 months. If there were no violations — including attacks on other dogs or people — the dog would not need to have the special license any further.

Aurora, Lone Tree, Louisville and Commerce City also have bans on pit bulls. The Aurora City Council on Tuesday discussed breed restrictions but tabled the issue.