Denver councilman proposes ending decades-long pit bull ban

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Pit bull on a chain. Courtesy: Ildar Sagdejev / Wikimedia , Photo Date: November 2011
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DENVER — Denver City Councilman Chris Herndon has proposed ending the city’s decades-long pit bull ownership ban and replacing it with a licensing system.

Under a law enacted in August 1989, pit bulls are banned in the city and county of Denver.

Herndon’s proposal would require pit bull owners to obtain a “breed-restricted license.” Applicants would provide the city with their address, two emergency contacts, a description of the pit bull, an annual fee, and proof the dog was microchipped and has its rabies vaccination.

Each owner could have a maximum of two pit bulls per household. The owner must notify Denver Animal Protection (DAP) within eight hours if the dog escapes or bites. The owner must also contact DAP if the dog dies or if the owner moves.

If a registered pit bull has no violations within 36 months, the breed-restricted license could be replaced with a regular dog license that all other dog owners in the city are required to have.

Under Herndon’s proposal, DAP would be the only agency to provide valid pit bull breed assessments.

Additionally, DAP could hold, transport and adopt any pit bull. Pit bulls adopted from DAP will get a breed-restricted license.

While any humane society registered with the city could also hold, transport and adopt pit bulls, new owners would have to get a breed-restricted license from the city following adoption.

According to the proposal, DAP would be able to inspect an owner’s premises for “safety and health reasons.”

Finally, after a five-year period, DAP will review the data and report its findings and recommendations to City Council.

If an owner does not apply for the special license, they would be subject to criminal and/or administrative penalties.

Herndon represents a portion of northeast Denver that includes the Park Hill and Stapleton neighborhoods. FOX31 and Channel 2 will be interviewing him about his proposal on Tuesday.

Other metro-area cities with pit bull bans include Aurora, Commerce City and Lone Tree.

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