This upcoming election, residents of Denver, Colorado have the chance to replace the city’s Breed Specific Legislation which was enacted over 30 years ago. Essentially, the ordinance bans any dog who looks like they are more than half pit bull from the city, under the guise of safety. Some of these dogs end up being put down just based on their appearance.
The legislation was almost repealed earlier this year by the Denver City Council. Unfortunately, Mayor Michael Hancock ended up vetoing the decision, stating, “if this were to become a law in our city and harm comes to someone as a result, then we would have done a disservice to the people of Denver."
While the mayor does seem to have good intentions, Denver’s BSL does more harm than good.
First off it’s just not effective. For the past few years, the University of Denver has been collecting data about how BSL has impacted the community.
Katy Loughney, an accountant who is a part of the study, noted that they “found there was no discernible increase to public safety [with the ban]." She went on to state the ordinance “is primarily enforced in communities of color," implying that there is a significant bias against dog owners who belong to marginalized communities.
The research also showed that the legislation has been quite costly for taxpayers. The cost of enforcement alone is estimated at $6 million.
Now, we aren’t trying to invalidate anyone who has been bitten by a pit bull. The fact of the matter is that all dogs of all breeds sometimes attack.
It should be noted that a study from the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment shows that they has been 5,721 dog bites in the community within the past ten years. That being said, pit bulls have accounted for only 4.4% of the incidences.
We’d be naive to say that they aren’t people ignoring the ordinance, which ultimately lessens their dog’s quality of life. When faced with having to get rid of their canine companion, people will keep their dogs confined to their homes and not take them to the vet. While this behavior is somewhat understandable under the current ban, this is just not responsible dog ownership.
So what’s the solution here?
If are you live in Denver, you can vote yes on 2J before November 3rd. This proposal will effectively end the pit bull ban. Instead, pit owners will need to have a provisional breed-restricted license. To obtain, said license, your pit bull must be microchipped, have the appropriate vaccinations, and be fixed. Denver Animal Protection also must be notified if your dog attacks, is missing, or has passed away within a 24-hour time frame. In addition, households can only have two pit bulls at a time.For more information, be sure to check out Replace Denver BSL.