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Written by: J. Todd Tenge

Denver Mayor Vetoes Pit Bull Ban

| Read Time: 2 minutes

After a 30-year ban, it seemed as though pit bulls would once again be allowed on the streets of Denver. In February 2020, the City Council voted seven to four to amend the code banning pit bulls entirely. However, Mayor Hancock took a stand against the movement, and vetoed the ban repeal.

The founder of the American Pit Bull Foundation said, “The problem has never been the dogs, it has always been irresponsible dog ownership,” as reported by ABC News. Though the ban remains in place, it seems those looking to repeal it have no intention of stopping their quest.

“I’m disappointed the mayor is choosing to disregard the science on the issue of breed-specific legislation,” said Councilman Christopher Herndon, who originally sponsored the proposal, to The New York Times.

What Is a Pit Bull?

Pit bull is not a specific breed of dog. It is a term used to describe stocky dogs with smooth coats and boxy heads. The term encompasses four breeds – American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and American Bully. For purposes of the ban, Denver defines pit bulls as any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of one or more of the above breeds or exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics.

Why Were Pit Bulls Banned from Denver In the First Place?

Pit bulls were banned in Denver in 1989. The concern behind the ban was that this breed of dog is disproportionately violent and aggressive. There may be some truth to these accusations based on the results of a new study identifying the most damaging dog bites by breed, as reported by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). After “unknown” (because data was lacking on the breed of dog that caused some injuries), the worst breeds, in order, were found to be pit bulls, mixed breeds, German Shepherds, terriers, and Rottweilers.

During the 14-year period from 2005 to 2018, 66% of dog bite fatalities in the U.S. were caused by pit bulls, as reported on Pit bulls were found to be the breed involved in the most human fatalities, killing 311 people.

A more broad analysis of dog breeds involved in fatal attacks in the U.S. between 1979 and 1996 was conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During that period, pit bulls were involved in more incidents than any other type of dog. They accounted for 60 fatal attacks against humans, as compared to 29 for Rottweilers and 19 for German Shepherds.

What Could a Future Repeal Mean in Terms of Dog Bites?

Research has shown that pit bulls tend to bite more frequently and cause the most damage when they bite. How much of this is due to irresponsible dog ownership remains to be seen. Were the mayor to cave to the councilmen in a case of another ban repeal vote, we may see pit bulls on the streets and in the parks of Denver for the first time in 30 years. Would this mean an increase in dog bite incidents? Only time will tell.

If you or your child is bitten by a pit bull or any type of dog, get a name and contact information for the dog owner, receive medical treatment for your injuries, and call the Tenge Law Firm, LLC at (303) 502-5587. Our Denver dog bite attorneys can look into the incident to determine if the owner was negligent, if the dog had a history of attacks, and file for compensation for damages you may have suffered.

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