Denver Voters Elect To Overturn Pit Bull Ban

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Landon Mion Contributor
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Denver citizens voted to overturn a ban on pit pulls that had been in place for more than 30 years, approving a ballot measure permitting ownership of the dog breed, according to The Hill.

The ballot measure, 2J, removed an ordinance that had banned the dog breed in the city of Denver since 1989, The Hill reported. It was approved following a 65 percent to 35 percent vote. Denver’s ordinance was enacted 31 years ago after 20 people were injured by pit bulls in the state of Colorado over a span of several years in the 1980s.

In February, Denver City Council went forward with an end to the ban, even with a veto from Mayor Michael Hancock due to his concerns about the possibility of pit bulls causing harm to people.

Denver Breed Specific Legislation, an advocacy group, praised the decision in a Facebook post, stating that the approval of the ballot measure is “an absolutely historic win.”

Ballot measure 2J is not set to be implemented until the start of the new year but Denver officials have already released requirements for residents that choose to own a pit bull, according to NBC affiliate KUSA of Denver.

“You can get all the requirements done,” Lt. Josh Rolfe with the Denver Animal Protection Division said. “You can get your dog spayed or neutered, get it microchipped, get current vaccinations, but the permit itself can’t be bought until January.”

Dogs that are registered as pit bulls are required to be brought in for a $25 assessment so the determination can be made on if they have a majority of the physical characteristic of the breed, according to KUSA. Dogs that do not have these characteristics can be registered normally.

Rolfe said that a dog owner would be asked to remove their animal from their residence temporarily if it was determined that it was a pit bull. (RELATED: Heroic Pit Bull Saves Family Members From Dangerous Gas Leak)

City residents are only permitted to own a maximum of two pit bulls and are required to obtain a special permit, NBC News reported. Included in the permit is proof that the dogs are microchipped and vaccinated. If an incident such as a charged dog bite has not occurred in three years, the special restrictions can be dropped.

“While Mayor Hancock has always been forthright in sharing, he could not, in good conscience, sign the bill to overturn Denver’s pit bull ban,” Mayor Hancock’s spokesperson Theresa Marchetta told KUSA in an email. “He has also been very clear he supported putting this decision in the hands of Denver voters.”