Watch live: FOX31 News at 9 p.m.

Aurora leaders want voters to decide if pit bull ban should be lifted

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

AURORA, Colo. -- Nearly five million Americans are bitten by dogs each year.  Half of them are kids.

One dog that gets much of the blame is the pit bull.

Dozens of cities across the United States ban the breed outright. Denver and are Aurora among them.

But Aurora is considering lifting its ban.

Ginger has been a member of the O’Connor family since she was five months old.

“She more or less picked us out. Just a happy go lucky, doofus of a little dog,” said owner RJ O’Connor.

Going on 13-years-old, Ginger plays gently with her tiny human siblings at their home in Parker. In so many other cities here and across the nation, Ginger is banned for the simple fact that she’s a pit bull.

Say the name pit bull and many people picture a dangerous dog -- something O’Connor says Ginger is most certainly not.

“They have a high desire to please their owners,” he said. “So that’s where it can either be used for good or go bad quickly.”

And the bad can be devastating.

In April, three dogs, believed to be a pit bull and two mastiffs, broke into Shirley Croffard’s home attacking her and her two dogs.

“Honestly I thought I was going to die. I was screaming so loud I just wanted somebody to come and help me,” Croffard said.

There were reports Tuesday the three dogs in that attack had been euthanized by the City of Denver.

Denver city councilman Charlie Brown supports the ban which has been in place since 1989.

“Since we have had that ban we have not seen a headline in the Denver Post … about pit bulls attacking anyone in Denver,” Brown said.


Click on the poster to see the answers to what kinds of dogs these are.

It’s a different story in Aurora. After nine years, some lawmakers want to lift that city’s ban.

In March, city lawmakers turned down a proposal to repeal the ban but after much debate, they’re now planning to put it to voters this November.

Can Aurora voters identify the dog they will vote for or against?

We took a poster with pictures of several dogs out on the streets to find out. Over and over, even dog lovers couldn’t pick the correct dog.

'Dog Whisperer' trying to change misconceptions

This widespread misconception has many trying to clean up the pit bull’s reputation.  Among the most outspoken is the man we know as the “dog whisperer,” Cesar Millan.

“My right hand is a pit bull. I started Dog Whisperer with a pit bull," Millan said.

He, like many, said it’s not the dog that’s to blame.

“It’s important to see that it’s not the breed, it’s the human behind the dog,” he said.

And with an owner like RJ O’Connor, Ginger has turned out to be gentle, loving and playful. Bans, O'Connor said, are not the answer.

“Why would you want to spend your money, spend your resources, on a dog that’s not a problem?” he said. “When meanwhile, the dog next door, pick x breed, is biting kids left and right but because it doesn’t fall into a category, it’s not even thought of as a problem.”

That’s a question voters in Aurora will soon have to ask themselves.


  • sosfdavido

    “Pick the pit bull” nonsense again? Guess what, I can’t pick a cancerous cell from a line-up of 10 healthy cells. Should I stop getting treatment?

  • sosfdavido

    Bans work everywhere they’re enacted. And animal control is more than capable of identifying a pit bull. The idea it might be a Armenian Crested Royal or some other rare breed is stupid. Pit bulls fall out of trees these days. If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck…

    • JC

      Bans work everywhere they are enacted? Tell that to the families of Sandy Hook where they had a ban on firearms on the premises, or perhaps the families of the Century 16 Theater survivors where firearms were banned.

      Banning something creates only an environment where the law abiding citizens will follow it, and those that break the law wont care. My American Pit Bull Terrier (commonly referred to as a pit bull, but no such breed of pit bull actually exists) is loved, cared for, and treated as a valued member of my family. I know that she has the power to be destructive, but I feel I have trained her correctly, and given her the compassion any dog needs to be considered a good dog. But I also never leave her unattended with small children, I never leave her off leash on walks, and I have never and will never tolerate her biting or attacking anyone or anything else.

      I thank god I don’t live in city with laws like these. Home of the free? Not when it comes to choosing a pet for your family I guess…

      • Never again

        Though I don’t have a pitbull, I also thank God I live in a city that doesn’t discriminate against them. It makes me smile every day when I see people walking their beloved pitties in my neighborhood or playing with them in the park next to where I live. They’re beautiful, sweet, loving dogs. I know this from my personal experience volunteering at an animal shelter.

      • Joanie Caldwell-Kenoshmeg

        So guns and pitbulls are the same thing now? Oh and you’d LOVE paying more taxes to continually euthanize overbred pitbulls that are born to DIE cause that is so cool and so humane huh? And all of the cops misdirected to back up animal control is neat too huh? And the lower property values and more gang related violence that goes along with pitbulls is oh so cool huh.. Not to mention the fact that pitbulls are removing a person’s body part every 4 to five days now. Heck you would look good without an eye or an arm right?

    • Lisa Day

      You are absolutely INCORRECT in your statement and in fact bans have been proven to NOT work; NOT lower bite rates or attacks; is very costly to TAX PAYERS (that’s you) etc .. it’s an ineffective knee jerk reaction to trying to make a community feel safe when it doesnt do any of that. That is why countries/states/provinces/ cities are repealing BSL everywhere and replacing it with responsible dog ownership laws.

  • john

    I believe the point of this exercise is that many dogs look very much alike and pits may be getting blamed for the actions of other breeds. Also some may be overestimating the training given to animal control officers. The breeds they chose for this comparison is unfortunate, there are many more common breeds that also closely resemble pit bulls. Be careful with statements like bans work, someone may try to ban something that you care about or actually know something about, then we will hear how unjust said ban is because it pertains to you.

  • lee77

    I had no trouble at all “picking the pit bull.” The Presna Canario and Dogo Argentino are also pit bull-TYPE dogs because they have been used for the purpose of fighting. The American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, Presna Canario, Dog Argentino, Cane Corso, all other “fighting breeds” and all mixed breeds having any pit bull-type in their mix, should be banned. Rottweilers and mastiffs should also be added to the banned list.

    Miami-Dade, Florida, has had a pit bull ban in effect since 1989. Before the ban, Miami-Dade had one of the highest rates of serious dog attacks in the state. Now, the number of dog attacks resulting in hospitalization is well below the state average and there hasn’t been a single serious pit bull attack. In 2012, the people of Miami-Dade went to the polls to decide whether to keep the ban in place. In the weeks leading up to the vote, pit bull advocates from across the US descended on Miami-Dade and people were bombarded by newspaper/TV advertisements, nutters marching around with pro-pit bull signs, etc., etc. to the point local news purveyors were predicting the ban would be overturned. The Miami Herald even wrote an editorial calling for the overturn of the pit bull ban. But when the votes were counted, the citizens voted to keep the ban by an overwhelming two-thirds majority! Let’s hope the citizens of Aurora are as intelligent as those of Miami-Dade.

    • Anonymous

      can anyone tell me how many attacks were not published because the dog was not reported as being a “pit bull”?

    • Browncoat (@browncoat_28)

      I like how you use the word “Period” to indicate that your statement is the end all statement. Yet, you don’t really know what domesticated means so that pretty much makes you look ridiculous. Nice work.

  • dougsmith42

    Great idea and let more people get attacked. Obviously ‘they’ are not making enough revenue, and ‘they’ aren’t stealing enough money already.

  • dougsmith42

    I’m sorry Cesar Millan, but more people than not are TERRIBLE dog owners. The voters have already decided, BAN THEM and everywhere else as well. Why is this issue even being brought up?

  • annpirie

    I cannot believe this issue keeps coming up. It is proven, read the comments on here from those who are in the know, time and time again, they are a dangerous breed. Why does this keep surfacing. It should be a done deal. The statistics are not going to change.

    • Browncoat (@browncoat_28)

      Oh you silly ignoramuses. I know of many “pit bulls” that are dedicated service dogs or ambassadors. In fact, one of the pit bulls that Michael Vick used to fight has now been rehabilitated to become a certified service dog and meets with sick children in the hospital. Let’s go ban this dog from hospitals as well, genius.

      If you can’t manage your dog, you shouldn’t own one.

      (Queue the idiotic retort)

  • Gail L Rosbach

    Because the Pit Bull Mafia is leaning on the lawmakers to repeal the Ban. They do this everywhere. You guys are lucky you are given a voice in this matter., usually lawmakers just cave in to the constant pressure and do whatever they want. Just be sure to vote and keep the ban. I am so jealous of people who live in communities that actually still care more about people than Pit Bulls. I can’t even take my dog for a walk unless I have Bear mace and a couple other weapons with me. The Pit Bull Advocacy is just a group that supports dog fighting, they operate under the guise of caring about this breed. There is huge money in dog fighting, and it has become prevalent just about everywhere in the US. Dog fighters would not know what to do if there were no dog fighting dogs. They have spent the last 300 years working on breeding dogs that are bigger, better more game and more lethal, and as long as there are Pit Bulls, there is going to be dog fighting. Time to just end the whole thing. The dogs were never meant to be family pets, obviously, when you consider all the attacks that happen everyday.

  • Jess

    Wow you people are all IGNORANT! Pit Bulls are being unfairly targeted and its all because of the idiot public believing anything the media tells them. Its the owner not the dog! educate yourselves please!

    • Browncoat (@browncoat_28)

      You’re wasting your breath. The sheer level of incompetence being displayed on this forum is clear evidence that the majority of people in this world should not own a dog because they want to blame a dog for anything that goes wrong.


      Obviously you blame the dog, not the owner, because why would an owner have any responsibility when caring for a living thing? I mean, lets blame our 3-6 year old children for the dumb things they do because the parents are OBVIOUSLY not the problem. This makes all the sense in the world. Clearly this is why people are so smart because they want to blame things that have been taught or forced into a certain behavior. What the heck was I thinking all these years that owners and parents should be responsible for their care giving. I need to go rethink my entire life now, or should I go blame my dog for all these problems? Yep, i’ll do that.

      /end sarcasm.

  • Lesley Karen Luscombe

    Keep your ban, Aurora. These dogs are unlike all other dogs, and they are supposed to be different. Keep innocent people and pet animals safe and well, and keep these bred-for-purpose happily violent dogs under strict control.

    Update of 9th May, 2014

    19 DEAD SO FAR – Fighting Breed Dogs killed 16 (including 9 CHILDREN)
    – All other breeds combined killed 3 (including 2 CHILDREN)

    – 9 child victims of Fighting Breed Dogs (0 – 18 y/o)
    – 4 elderly adult victims of Fighting Breed Dogs (over 65 y/o)
    – 3 Adults (18 – 64 y/o)

    – 2 child victims of any other dog breeds (0 – 18 y/o)
    – 1 elderly adult victim of any other dog breeds (over 65 y/o)

    – 6 victims of Fighting Breed Dogs came from TEXAS (4 adults, 2 children)
    – 2 victims of Fighting Breed Dogs came from ALABAMA (1 adult, 1 child)
    – The following States have all suffered one victim of Fighting Breed Dogs so far: Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina, New Jersey, Delaware, Arizona, Mississippi, Los Angeles.

    1. Christina Burleston~43 y/o~Houston TX~2+ Pit Bulls~01/05/14
    2. Betty Clark~75 y/o~San Antonio TX~2 x Pit Bulls~01/06/14
    3. Kara Hartrich~4 y/o~Bloomington IL~2 or 3 Pit Bulls~01/17/14
    4. Annabell Martin~89 y/o~Corona CA~2 x Rottweilers~01/26/14
    5. Klonda Richey~57 y/o~Dayton OH~2 x Cane Corso/Mastiffs~02/07/14
    6. Je’vaeh Mayes~2 y/o~Temple TX~1 Pit Bull~02/17/14
    7. Braelynn Coulter~3 y/o~High Park NC~1 Pit Bull~02/24/14
    8. Summer Sears~4 y/o~Tallassee AL~Mixed Breeds (tbc)~02/26/14
    9. Raymane Robinson~2 y/o~Killeen TX~1 x Bull Mastiff~03/01/14
    10. Kenneth Santillan~13 y/o~Patterson NJ~1 x Bull Mastiff~03/01/14
    11. Nancy Newberry~77 y/o~Phoenix AZ~1 x Pit Bull~03/15/14
    12. Mia Derouen~4 y/o~Houma LA~1 x Pit Bull~03/26/14
    13. Dorothy Hamilton~85 y/o~Kaufman TX~2 x Pit Bulls 03/31/14
    14. Christopher Malone~3 y/o~Holmes Co MS~1 or 2 Pit Bulls~04/01/14
    15. John Harvard~5 y/o~St Clair Co AL~1 x Pit Bull~04/07/14
    16. Petra Aguirre~83 y/o~San Antonio TX~1 x AmStaff Mix~04/11/14
    17. Katie Morrison~20 y/o~Lee Co AL~3 x Pit Bulls~05/04/14
    18. Nyhiem Wilfong~1 y/o~Caldwell Co NC~1 x Rottweiler~05/05/14
    19. Kasii Haith~4 y/o~Kent Co DE~3 x Pit Bulls~05/08/14

    1. Carlos Trevina~54 y/o~Idaho Falls ID~heart attack after trying to separate multiple fighting family Pit Bulls~01/08/14
    2. Demonta Collins~13 y/o~Richmond Co GA~chased into traffic by loose Pit Bull~04/10/14
    3. Davon Jiggetts~17 y/o~Fulton Co GA~chased into traffic by loose Pit Bull~04/12/14

  • Fayclis (@Fayclis)

    Why did not Denver city councilman Charlie Brown, who supports the ban which has been in place since 1989, NOT mention that in spite of having a BAN for decades his city is one of the WORST cities in the US for OVERALL dog attacks! Notice in Browns quote HE does NOT mention Denver is the 8th WORST city for dog attacks. Google this recent article; “Denver among top 10 worst U.S. cities for dog attacks”. BSL has been totally ineffective at decreasing dog attacks and in fact wasting money going after dogs who LOOK a certain way takes AWAY from ensuring reckless and irresponsible owners are effectively dealt with. HELLO Aurora? Forget the BSL Lobbyists and get the FACTS, the REAL facts and nothing but the facts NOT what you will hear out of BSL lobby groups website.

    • Browncoat (@browncoat_28)

      Simple solution:
      – dogs found off-leash in denver city limits and outside designated dog areas are subject to a $1000 fine
      – first instance of any unprovoked attack from any dog should result in a $10000 fine and 2 years of probation for the owner and the dog is put into a shelter to find a new home. The owner cannot own a dog while under probation.
      – second instance of any unprovoked attack from any dog should result in a $20000 fine, jail-time dependent on the infraction and a lifetime ban from owning or caring for a dog. The dog is removed from owner and put into a shelter to find a new home.

      Not everyone should own dogs, that’s what most of these idiots need to get through their heads. If you’re scared of what a dog might do in your care, don’t own a dog. If you make a choice to own a dog, the consequences for delinquent ownership should be extreme.

      Now how hard was that?

  • Brenda Grant

    Another Cesar Milan quote, this one prior to promoting pit$. “Yeah, but this breed is different…the power that comes behind the bulldog, pit bull. presa canario, the fighting breeds- they have that extra boost, they go into a zone, they don’t feel pain anymore…so if you are trying to create submission in a fighting breed, it’s not going to happen. They would rather die than surrender. If you add pain it only infuriates them…to them the pain is that adrenaline rush, they are looking forward to that, they are addicted to it…that’s why they make such great fighters. Especially with fighting breeds, you’re going to have these explosions over and over because there’s no limits in their brain”.
    Now who wouldn’t want these roaming their neighbourhood?

  • csunbean

    Weak kneed politicans that bow and cover to the OUT Of area pitbull advocates and the money of those who make their living off pitbulls are going to be sent back peddling. Quiet locals might not show up at meetings and engage in facebook petitions and follow Unreality t.v. stars around, but they will show up to vote to protect their neighbor hood from the gang related violence that pitbulls bring, to stop their taxes from going up as other communities have to pay a lot more in taxes to continually euthanisize overbred pitbulls, and they have to have their police tied up as they back up animal control.. and the property values plummet as everyone moves away.. The people know a good thing and they will show up to protect their homes, families, and pocket books.

    • Sandy

      Joan Kowal, why are you posting under several accounts? Are you still stalking your nieghbor’s pit bull and trying to kill it?

  • Test

    I guess hunters should quit buying retrievers and sled dog racers should quit buying sled dogs……

    Nope, it’s not the breed, it’s the owner….

    Just like I could enter my Subaru in the indy 500 because it’s not the car it’s the driver….

  • Sarah

    It is undeniable that certain dogs have an advantage as far as attacking due to jaw strength. I myself own a pit bull mix, I’ve seen her play with adults, I’ve seen her play with children. She knew not to play as rough with the child without having to be told so. You’ve got to be an idiot to leave a child unattended with ANY dog. I’m not saying ALL pits are good dogs, or even other breeds make better dogs. I believe that if you train a dog in certain ways then those are the characteristics you will get out of the dog. I believe that there are vicious dogs that should be put down but I also believe that in these cities that ban pit bulls they have put down MANY innocent and well mannered dogs… It’s sad that people can be so judgemental through only what they see on the media… Good luck to my children’s generation… It seems like people have only gotten worse!

  • Jennifer Dost

    I know let’s ban all dogs!!! That will fix the problem. I have a pit mix never had any problems. We went throught a lot of other choices before picking him. He’s a great dog. People should pick a dog best to there lifestyle. Also anyone here are the dog that attacked the little boy and was saved by his cat??? Guess what it was a retriever!!!! Let’s ban them too!

  • Dick Peabody

    The Mexican Illegals that infest Aurora will love this if the ban is lifted. Dog fighting is a national pastime for them. You go, Aurora officials. Maybe Tijuana can be your sister city too.

Comments are closed.