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Denver’s pit bull ban was repealed, now it’s up to Mayor Hancock to sign the law

Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 20:00:15-05

DENVER – Denver City Council repealed a long-standing ban on pit bulls Monday night, but dog lovers shouldn’t celebrate just yet.

A day after council members voted 7-4 to repeal the 30-year-old ban within city limits, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock indicated the fight to lift the ban could still be far from over.

In a statement from his office, a spokesperson said Hancock, “wants to be thoughtful on this [issue] and hasn’t decided to sign the ordinance or not at this time.”

Hancock has until Friday to decide whether he’ll sign the ordinance, which could be best described as a “probation” for the dogs, into law.

If he does not sign the new ordinance into law, Denver City Council would need 9 votes to override the mayor’s veto. It’s unclear at this time if enough council members would be in support of overriding his veto.

Under the new ordinance, the owner must register with Denver Animal Protection and get their dog a "breed-restricted" license. The owner will also have to provide the name and home address of the dog, plus two emergency contacts, an accurate description of the pit bull and proof that the animal was micro-chipped and had received an up-to-date rabies vaccination.

Other restrictions under the new law include: no more than two pit bulls per household, the owner must notify Denver Animal Protection within eight hours if the dog escapes or bites, and they must also notify the agency within 24 hours if the dog dies or the owner moves to a different address.

If the pit bull shows good behavior after three years, Denver Animal Protection will remove the breed-restricted license and the dog will be given the same license as any other dog within the city.

If signed, the new ordinance would go into effect in 90 days.

The cities of Lone Tree, Louisville and Commerce City have bans on pit bulls. The City of Aurora is discussing whether to change its law.

Castle Rock’s Town Council repealed its ban in 2018.