Denver votes to repeal 30-year-ban on pit bulls

Pit bulls had been illegal in Denver.

February 11, 2020, 2:14 PM

After 30 years, pit bulls will soon be allowed to walk the streets of Denver.

The Denver City Council on Monday voted to amend a code that banned pit bulls entirely from the Colorado capital. The amendment passed 7-4 and will take effect 90 days after Mayor Michael Hancock signs it into law.

Yet the change comes with numerous qualifications.

PHOTO: An undated stock photo depicts a pit bull dog.
An undated stock photo depicts a pit bull dog.
STOCK/Getty Images

To own a pit bull, residents must register with Denver Animal Protection, have no more than two, and get the dog a "breed-restricted license," according to the city council.

A license application includes the name and address of where the dog will primarily reside, two emergency contacts, an accurate description of the pit bull, an annual fee and proof that the dog was microchipped, received a rabies vaccination and was either spayed or neutered.

If an owner doesn't apply, he or she could face administrative and/or criminal penalties, according to city council.

If the pit bull shows good behavior after three years, Denver Animal Protection will remove the requirement for a breed-restricted license and the owner could then license their pet under the same restrictions as any other dog.

The cities of Lone Tree, Louisville and Commerce City have bans on pit bulls, according to ABC Denver affiliate KMGH. The City of Aurora is discussing whether to change its law.

The founder of the American Pit Bill Foundation, Sara Ondrako, called the move "a step in the right direction," but said the restrictions involved "still lead to a very discriminatory persuasion of pit bull type dogs."

"The problem has never been the dogs, it is and has always been irresponsible dog ownership.," Ondrako told ABC News in a statement.