Denver Mayor Michael Hancock vetoed a measure that would have ended the long stranding ban on pit bulls. On Friday, Hancock stated he felt pit bulls allowed in the community would pose an increased risk to the community.
In a public statement, the mayor stated:
Council President Clark and members of City Council:
Over the past several days, I have heard from thousands of residents passionately expressing their opinions on both sides of this issue. I want to thank everyone who has shared their views, especially those I have spoken to personally – experts in veterinary care, animal care and control, as well as residents of our city who have had experiences with the pit bull breeds – all to gain a broader understanding of what this change would mean for our community and those who own these dogs. After deep reflection and consideration, I find that I cannot, in good conscience, support this legislation and will exercise my authority as Mayor to veto it…”
The new measure would have required owners to provide the name and address of the dog, have him/her microchipped, vaccinated and neutered or spayed. In addition, the owner would supply two emergency contacts. An annual fee would be required to obtain a license.
Additional conditions also included notifying authorities if the dog escaped from his home, if the dog died or he he bit someone. If there are no violations for three years, the owners would then have the option to remove the breed-restricted license and license the dog under the same requirements as other breeds in Denver.
On Monday, the Denver City Council passed the measure to allow pit bulls in the city by a vote of 7 to 4. The breed has been banned from the city since 1989.
“…Unfortunately, less than 20 percent of all pets in Denver are currently licensed, which raises significant questions about the effectiveness of this proposed new system. While much progress has been made in recent years to increase that number, more intentional efforts around responsible pet ownership, dog licensure and registration, and off-lease dogs are needed before this proposal should be considered. The reality is that irresponsible pet owners continue to be a problem, and it is the irresponsible owners and their dogs I must consider in evaluating the overall impact of this ordinance…”
Hancock stated he had received “over 900 emails and a couple hundred phone calls.”
The amendment will go back to the city council which could overturn the veto.
Weigh in with your thoughts. Surely a pit bull type of breed hasn’t been the only dogs in history who have attacked citizens. Perhaps it is time to end the stigma?
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