Three major cities have now repealed their pit bull bans: Denver, Aurora, and Commerce City. It is now legal to own pit bulls in all three cities. The only caveat is in Denver, where a pit bull owner is required to get a breed evaluation and a special permit in order to own a pit bull in city limits.
Denver’s modified pit bull law went into effect in January. Aurora’s pit bull ban repeal will take effect on February 15, 2021; and Commerce City’s repeal will also become effective mid-February. According to the best information I have at this time, Aurora and Commerce City have a full repeal in place, making pit bull owners no different from any other dog owner in these cities. Denver, however, has a unique permitting process, outlined below.
Denver’s new law created a permitting system for “pit bulls,” also known as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. So technically, pit bulls are only “legal” if the pit bull owner registers his/her dog with Denver Animal Protection under a “breed-restricted permit.” This will also require the owner to set up a breed assessment with Denver Animal Protection at a cost of $25. Scheduling for this assessment is available online. However, the assessment occurs in person at the Denver Animal Shelter.
The permit will require an owner to provide his/her name and address where the dog will reside, two emergency contacts, an accurate description of the pit bull, an annual fee (of $30 that must be renewed every year for at least 3 years), proof of rabies vaccination, proof of spay/neuter (unless you have an “intact” exception permit), proof of a city license, proof the dog was microchipped, and “any other information [Denver Animal Protection] reasonably requires.”
Denver residents may own up to two (2) pit bulls per home. If the dog does not pick up any charges for three (3) consecutive years, the pet owners will be allowed to register their pit bull like any other dog in Denver (meaning: just a regular license).
Examples of potential violations include, but are not limited to:
• Off-leash charge
• Lapsed permit charge
• Excrement charge
• Bite charge
• Excessive barking charge
• Potentially dangerous animal/dangerous animal charge
Each violation will result in starting the three-year time period over from the beginning, and/or other consequences. “Other consequences” usually means catching a charge for a potentially dangerous animal, which also carries a permitting requirement (at $300/year), in addition to muzzling and caging your dog. A dangerous dog charge carries a penalty of not allowing your dog in the Denver city limits. So make sure you call an experienced animal lawyer if you are facing any of these charges!
In order to reapply for a Breed-Restricted Permit, owners and keepers must show proof that the violation has been corrected.
If you find yourself in a difficult situation with your dog, whether it is a dog bite, or barking dog complaints, or anything else, call Kristina Bergsten at The Animal Law Firm at 303-623-4000, or, send us a message through our website www.theanimallawfirm.com.