Pexels | Jennie Orh

Denver Voters Overwhelmingly Pass Measure To Repeal Pit Bull Ban

Back in February 2020, the Denver city council voted to repeal the city's breed-specific legislation (BSL) that bans the three most common "pit bull" breeds: American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

However, it passed with a margin of votes too narrow to prevent veto by Mayor Michael Hancock, which he did soon after the vote.

Now voters have had their say and overwhelmingly supported repealing the ban for good.

The BSL became law in Denver in 1989, after a flood of anti-pit bull messaging was created in an attempt to end illegal dog fighting rings.

According to an interview with National Geographic, Bronwen Dickey, author of Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon, the campaign backfired:

"They partnered with the media to put dog fighting on the front page of every newspaper in America. In doing so, they encouraged wild speculations about these dogs that were not based in science or historical fact — things like they have 5,000 pounds of jaw pressure."

And instead of stopping dog fighting, average people became terrified of the dogs and the bad actors wanted them more.

Unsplash | Chris Benson

Dickey said:

"The more terrified everyone became, the more people who probably should not have had these dogs, wanted them."

The 31-year ban hasn't had much of an effect on public safety, either.

A study by Denver University revealed that while reports of "pit bull" bites dropped in that time, so did reports of all dog bite incidents, regardless of breed.

Additionally, enforcing the ban has cost taxpayers as much as $100 million while that actual enforcement has been inconsistent at best.

After the Mayor's veto of the original repeal, the councillors in favor of ending the BSL decided to leave the choice up to the citizens.

Councilman Chris Herndon brought the proposal of a citywide vote to the City Council, which overwhelmingly supported placing the choice on the ballot during November's election.

Though the 2020 US Election has still has a lot of unknowns, the choice of Denver's citizens in this case was clear.

Unsplash | Lucas Ludwig

64% of voters indicated they were in favor of repealing the ban, meaning that as of January 1, 2021, residents can legally have up to two pit bulls in their home.

There are still some specialized rules for the controversial breeds, though.

The dogs will require a special permit, available only after the pet has been spayed or neutered, microchipped, and have proof of up-to-date vaccinations.

A $25 assessment fee will apply to have each animal looked at to determine if they show enough of the bully breed characteristics to require the breed-specific permit. If they do not, then they will be eligible for a standard dog license.

h/t: 9 News

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