A pit bull ban is being reconsidered in Aurora, Colorado, after a nine-year prohibition against residents owning a dog of that breed. It’s the first attempt in the nation to overturn a “breed-specific legislation” law that either bans a specific breed or requires they be sterilized.
Christian Science Monitor reports that a landmark vote will be cast this November in attempt to repeal the controversial ban. Aurora is one of many cities that ban pit bulls. Others include Castle Rock, Commerce City, Denver, Front Range, and Louisville. However, about 700 cities across the U.S. have pit bull bans, deeming the breed a public safety risk.
Aurora is the first to put a law reversal revolving around pit bulls to public vote. City officials re-examined years worth of complaints, and have drawn the conclusion that Aurora’s pit bull ban is “unfair and punishes negligent owners,” the report says.
“We wanted to resolve the question,” Aurora councilman Bob LeGare says. “This issue would just continually come back to us every couple years.”
This public vote is attracting more disputes over pit bulls. Aurora’s animal care division is against the repeal because they argue dog bites have declined since it was put in effect in 2005.
Colleen Long, founder of DogBite in Texas, posted a 2017 projected statistic on how many bites will come from pit bulls.
“By 2017, pit bulls are projected to maul 305 Americans to death since 1998, the year the CDC stopped tracking fatal dog attacks by breed.”
That statistic was backed up by Fatal Pit Bull Attacks. Long, who suffered a pit bull mauling in 2007, says the number of pit bulls that enter their shelters far outweigh other breeds of dogs.
“Nationwide we euthanize a million pit bulls a year, and the breed takes up a lot of resources in our shelters.”
The American Kennel Club thinks banning an entire dog breed doesn’t do enough in targeting irresponsible dog owners.
AKC spokeswoman Lisa Peterson says it does more damage to prohibit any breed of dog.
“These kinds of breed bans hurt responsible owners more than irresponsible owners.”
According to the report, breed bans have been challenged in Colorado courts, but the laws are still upheld. Denver’s pit bull ban since 1991 was upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court, and a challenge to Aurora’s ban in 2009 was dismissed by a federal court.
ColoRADogs, a dog-advocacy in the state, wants to see voters in Aurora reconsider pit bulls in their communities, even if the courts refuse to. The group claims that breed bans are directed at the types of people likely to own pit bulls — minorities — instead of the actual dogs.
Founder Nancy Tranzow says dog owners suspected to have a pit bull sometimes pay for DNA tests to prove that their animal is less than 50 percent pit bull. She says it’s a financial hardship on dog owners who probably did nothing wrong.
“If you’re incredibly poor and your dog gets picked up, you have to go in and if you can’t afford a DNA test, maybe the dog gets euthanized and there’s nothing you can do about it. People are losing their dogs because of what they look like. It’s not right.”
Will the pit bull ban in Aurora be changed by voters in November? If so, could it pave the way for other cities to reconsider the breed-prohibited law?
[Image via Flickr Photos]