Great news in Colorado: The city of Fort Lupton has repealed their obsolete ban against "pitbull-type" dogs because the City Council determined that the ban was unconstitutional (illegal) under Colorado State law. Enacted in 2003, Fort Lupton's breed-specific legislation (BSL) was unconstitutional because Colorado state law clearly prohibits any ordinance that is specific to breed. The City Council should be commended for repealing the ban because since it was unconstitutional, it could have exposed the city to legal action and lawsuits which would have wasted valuable public resources and tax dollars. Furthermore, the full repeal of the ban allows public safety officials and animal control officers to focus on more effective breed-neutral regulations and the factors that are scientifically linked to serious bite-related incidents such as irresponsible ownership, dogs running loose, and dogs that have a history of negative behavior.
Only five cities in Colorado still remain with bans against "pitbull-type" dogs: Denver, Aurora, Commerce City, Lone Tree, and Louisville - representing less than 2% of Colorado's 271 municipalities. All five of these cities are "home rule" municipalities (only 35% of municipalities in Colorado are home rule) which grants local governments more power and allows them to circumvent state law under specific circumstances such as for matters of public safety - including the state law that prohibits breed-specific bans. In other words, cities that are home rule in Colorado can enact BSL (going against state law) if they make the case that it's for public safety. However, since BSL has been proven to be ineffective both in practice and by multiple peer-reviewed studies, we believe that this constitutes an illegal application of the home rule provision because there is no evidence that BSL has any impact on public safety. For the majority of cities that are not home rule in Colorado (including Fort Lupton), BSL is entirely unconstitutional because it directly violates state law. For the five cities that still have bans, we're aware of citizen-driven efforts in several of these cities to repeal BSL by petitioning city councils or by introducing a ballot measure (vote) and while these efforts are long-term initiatives, they are often successful for repealing ineffective and unconstitutional ordinances such as BSL.
BSL is a trend in decline that is continually being challenged at the state level and 21 states already prohibit or restrict BSL under state law. At the local level, citizen-driven efforts are especially effective for repealing BSL and many cities have recently repealed BSL because of strong public opposition to any breed-based bans. Overall in the U.S., only around 2% (~700÷35,000) of cities and towns have BSL enacted. However, we are not satisfied with "only 2%" - we need to continue to challenge and defeat BSL until that percentage is zero.
Dangerous animals should be labeled as such as a result of their actions or behavior and not because of their breed.
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Insight, news, and analysis on issues and topics relevant to pitbull-type dogs.