Pit bulls finding new homes as ownership restrictions eased

Posted at 4:00 PM, Feb 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 13:06:11-05

WESTMINSTER, Colo. — It wasn’t Karen Madsen and her family’s intention to adopt a pit bull when they decided to get a new dog during the pandemic. It just worked out that way.

“Pit bulls just don’t have the type of reputation that’s attached to the pit bull,” Karen said.

“We wanted a dog named Daisy, and she happened to be a pit bull,” her husband Ryan Lytle added.

For the last year and a half, their son Ryder has spent his time playing with Daisy inside and outside the home, taking her for walks and cuddling with her.

“I think that's a pit bull trait,” Karen said. “You know, they're very much cuddlers and they just can't be close enough.”

At the Dumb Friends League, vice president of sheltering, Katie Parker, says the stereotypical characterization of pit bulls being aggressive dogs is inaccurate.

“They are goofy and happy and silly. They will make you laugh,” she said.

For about 30 years starting in the late 1980s, pet owners were banned from owning pit bulls in Denver and many other metro municipalities. Most of those breed bans have been overturned in recent years — only Louisville still bans the breed. In Denver, pit bull ownersneed a provisional license that they can get after micro chipping their dogs and meeting other requirements.

Even with those relaxed standards, about one in five dogs at the League are some kind of pit bull or Staffordshire mix, which many families looking to add a four-legged friend to their household don’t consider. Parker admits despite their friendly demeanor, the large, athletic dogs are not a good fit for every family.

“They can be big and rambunctious, and so they can be a little bit hard to manage,” she said.

“Just like your kids, your dogs are a reflection of how they're treated,” Karen says of her family’s time with Daisy. She says there have been some bumps in the road, but nothing she wouldn’t haven’t expected from any dog that had spent their bulk of their life in a shelter.

“She just needed some work, and we needed to work on boundaries,” she said. “That's why we ended up with the training.”

Ryder says he loves his new best friend and would recommend anyone look at adopting a pit bull.

“Because they are very joyful, playful and very happy to be around their owners,” he said with smile.