Pit bull ban lifted in Denver starting Jan. 2, registration will be required

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DENVER (KDVR) — The City and County of Denver has lifted its ban on pit bulls. However, pit bull owners are required to purchase a $30 permit.

Denver voters chose to lift the 31-year-old ban in November.

If you own a cat or a dog in Denver, you are legally required to have it licensed with the city.

However, the city estimates only 18% of pet owners actually have the required license, which costs $15 per year.

In order to have their dog in Denver, pit bull owners must be issued a different, provisional, breed-restricted permit beginning Jan. 2.

“That permit allows owners of American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, or Staffordshire bull terriers, or predominant mixes of those breeds, to maintain and own their dog within the city limits,” said Denver Animal Protection Lt. Josh Rolfe.

First, an assessment is required to determine if the dog is a restricted breed. 

Through the $25 assessment process, you can determine if a dog has a majority of characteristics of the banned breeds. A $30 permit is then required to have the pet.

But if the ban was lifted and you can now have a pit bull, why do you have to pay a total of $55 for a special permit? 

“I was under the firm belief that the science was quite true that these animals are no more dangerous than any other breed,” said Denver City Councilman Chris Herndon. “However, there were some people on Council who were a little hesitant. So what the compromise was, let’s create a permit where the owners take their dogs, they have some additional requirements that they have to do, and over the course of time they demonstrate that they are no different and then they just go to the regular license that you get for your golden retriever.”

The pit bull permit is required for three years. If there are no issues in that time frame, then no special permit is further required. 

Owners are required to report any bite incidents or loose pit bulls to Animal Control within eight hours. 

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock vetoed the City Council’s attempt to repeal the pit bull ban earlier this year. 

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