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Denver Ballot Issue 2J Grant Authority to Allow Previously Banned Breeds of Dog with Some Requirements

Referred Measure 2J: Grant Authority to Allow Previously Banned Breeds of Dog with Some RequirementsTitle: Shall the voters for the City and County of Denver adopt an ordinance authorizing the city to grant a provisional permit to owners or keepers of a pit bull, provided the owner microchips the animal and complies with additional requirements set by Denver Animal ProtectionBackground: The city and county of Denver passed a pit bull ban in 1989 in response to two attacks by pit bulls which resulted in death and serious injury. Since Denver adopted its ban, there has been a review of controlled studies by the American Veterinary Medical Association that document that pit bulls are not disproportionately dangerous compared with other dogs. Based on data and studies, over 100 cities have repealed their bans entirely. City Council finds that, based on studies and evidence from other jurisdictions, a new regulation should be adopted permitting owners of pit bulls to apply for and obtain a provisional breed restricted permit that will become permanent if there are no violations of certain conditions imposed upon owners and keepers of pit bulls.In 2004, the Colorado State legislature passed a statute increasing the penalties and liability for dog attacks and prohibiting any legislation based on breed. This law effectively repealed all pit bull breed bans in Colorado. The City and County of Denver, however, contested the law, claiming they were a “home rule” city and the state legislature could not dictate local ordinances such as dog breed bans. They were successful at the district court level and the pit bull breed ban was reinstated.Major Provisions:It shall be unlawful for any person to own or keep any pit bull within the city without first obtaining a breed-restricted permit. “Breed-restricted permit” shall mean a permit granted by animal protection to owners or keepers of a pit bull in accordance with certain conditions.Any pit bull breed assessment not done by Denver animal protection is non-binding; it is the responsibility of any new owner of an adopted animal to contact Denver animal protection and follow the breed-restricted licensing process.Adopters intending to own or keep any such animals within Denver must comply with all requirements set forth in this ordinance.After a period of thirty-six consecutive months with no violations, animal protection may remove the requirements by issuing a written notice to the owner or keeper that the conditions of the breed-restricted permit period have been satisfied. Upon receipt of written notice, the owner or keeper is required to license their pit bull and maintain compliance with all other license requirements.

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  • Yes - For the Measure

  • No - Against the Measure

Those in favor say:

-This amendment will modernize Denver’s animal ordinances to reflect current science and best practices. This reflects a modernized, data-driven approach to policy making and will move the city toward more effective, equitable animal ordinances.

- Breed-specific laws can be difficult to enforce, especially when a dog's breed can't easily be determined or if it is of mixed breed.

-Identification of a dog's breed with certainty is prohibitively difficult; breed-specific laws are therefore inherently vague and difficult to enforce.

-There is no evidence that breed-specific laws (BSL) make communities safer for people or companion animals. Following a thorough study of human fatalities resulting from dog bites, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decided to strongly oppose BSL.

Proponents: City Councilman Chris Herndon, Denver Dumb Friends League, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Replace Denver BSL, American Veterinary Medical Association

Those opposed say:

-Individuals and organizations who oppose the proposal do so based on their belief that pit bulls are inherently more dangerous than other breeds.

-The majority of dog bites are from either pit bull breeds or other similar breeds. By banning one of the main contributors to dog bites, supporters believe that dog bites overall will be reduced.

-Pit bulls are responsible for an overwhelming number of human deaths despite the fact they are a relatively rare breed of dog. The one consistent thing that is regularly reported by a pit-bull owner that maims or kills a human or another pet is that it was totally unexpected.

Opponent: Denver Mayor