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Denver Councilman Proposes Alternative to Pit Bull Breed Ban

Exciting news in Denver! Dr. Apryl Steele, president and CEO of the Dumb Friends League, has been working with Councilman Chris Herndon to remove the current pit bull breed ban in Denver and replace it with a “pit bull probation.” The new rule would allow owners to have pit bulls if they apply for a breed-restricted license with Denver Animal Protection for a three-year probationary period. If there are no incidents in those three years, then the owner would no longer be required to obtain the breed-restricted license and would instead register their pet like every other dog in the City and County of Denver.

The League opposes breed bans because we understand that, while most dogs do not bite, given the right circumstances, any dog may bite, regardless of breed. Instead, the League supports breed-neutral, proactive laws that protect the community from dangerous dogs by holding pet owners responsible for the actions of their pets and require an understanding of their pets’ temperament, traits and behavior. Legislation aimed at punishing the dog’s owner, rather than punishing the dog, has been shown to be far more effective in reducing instances of dog bites and attacks. Comprehensive, well-enforced, breed-neutral laws offer an effective and fair solution to the problem of dangerous dogs and ultimately keep communities safer.

Councilman Herndon’s proposal was heard in the Safety, Housing, Education and Homelessness Committee on Wednesday, January 22. Dr. Steele was joined by representatives from the Colorado Veterinary Medicine Association (CVMA) and the American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) in testifying in support of the proposal.

The proposal was unanimously moved forward by the committee, although not all Councilmembers agreed with the new law. The proposal is scheduled for a larger public hearing in early February.

We hope to continue to see the proposal move forward and encourage you to reach out to your City Councilmembers and share your support for this legislation.

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