State Watch

Denver voters overturn pit bull ban

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Denver residents voted this week to overturn the city’s longtime ban on pit bulls, approving a ballot measure to permit ownership of the dog breed.

The ballot measure, 2J, which removed an ordinance that had banned pit bulls for more than 30 years, was approved by a 65 percent to 35 percent tally.

The city’s ordinance was enacted in 1989 after 20 people were injured by pit bulls in the state over several years in the 1980s, including a 3-year-old who was fatally attacked, according to a history of the law.

The City Council moved to end the ban in February despite a veto by Mayor Michael Hancock (D), citing concerns about people potentially being hurt after the repeal.

Leading advocacy group Denver BSL lauded the decision in a social media post, calling the approval of Ballot Measure 2J “an absolutely historic win.” BSL is shorthand for breed specific legislation.

The repeal will go into effect in January, though city officials have already published requirements for pit bull owners.

Pet owners in Denver can own no more than two pit bulls and are required to obtain a special permit.

The permit involves showing the animals are microchipped and have received proper vaccines.

If there are zero incidents such as a dog bite or attack within three years, special restrictions can be removed.

While Hancock vetoed the City Council’s decision, a spokesperson told local NBC affiliate KUSA that the mayor has said he would support uplifting the ban if decided by Denver voters.

Tags Colorado Michael Hancock Pit bull

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