Woman who lost grandson in pit bull attack speaks out against proposal to end Denver ban

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DENVER -- Denver City Councilman Chris Herndon is proposing ending the city's longstanding pit bull ban and replacing it with a licensing system.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers dug deeper into Herndon's reasoning behind this move and why others are saying it's dangerous.

Both sides focus on the same argument: irresponsible ownership.

“One particular dog I grew up with is Rottweilers,” Herndon said. "Some people might say that is a dangerous breed, but from my experience, I’ve recognized it’s not the breed of the dog, but how it is raised.”

“But the two pit bulls who killed our grandson were raised by a loving family,” grandmother Sharon Sucharski said.

Sucharski, of Centennial, says pit bulls attacked and killed her 14-month-old grandson Daxton while he was in the arms of the dogs’ owner.

“They basically broke his spine and he died,” Sucharski said, adding, “What else can you do? They were loved, the dogs were loved, so I get so tired of hearing ‘It’s how they were raised.’”

Sucharski can’t agree with Herdon and many others' logic on the irresponsible ownership argument, but she understands the councilmember is trying his best to meet both sides in the middle.

“This is not an all-out repeal,” Herdon told FOX31. “We’re saying this is a transition period: create a breed-restricted license, we know where they are, we have their information. Should something occur, we can deal with it and here’s the data to see what we should do in the future.”

Herdon says people are already breaking the law and keeping pit bulls in city and county limits. He believes his proposal will better regulate what is already happening to make it safer.

“We don’t know where they (pit bull owners) are, we don’t know their numbers,” Herndon said. “Are they getting socialization, vet care? This bill actually allows them to go to a dog park, a vet in the city of Denver, get the services."

“So what are we even teaching our young kids?" Sucharski questioned. “It’s OK because eventually people will change the rules to do what you want them to do? I’d hate to have another family go through this.”

Herndon will present his plan to the Safety, Housing, Education & Homelessness committee Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. He plans to bring subject matter experts with data to show pit bulls do not bite at a larger rate than other breeds.

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