Pit Bull Owners Sue Denver

Several Pit Bull owners have filed a lawsuit saying Denver’s breed-specific ban is unconstitutional.

Posted: April 12, 2007, 5 a.m. EST

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Three dog owners in Colorado who moved out of Denver because of the city’s ban on Pit Bulls have filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court, saying the ban is unconstitutional.

The suit was filed April 6 by Lakewood, Colorado-based attorney Karen Breslin and the Progressive Law Center on behalf of Sonya Dias and Hillary Engel, who said they were forced to move out of Denver because of the anti-Pit Bull ordinance; and Sheryl White, who says her dog was seized under the ban.

Denver first banned Pit Bulls in 1989 in reaction to two separate mauling attacks. But in 2004, the Colorado Legislature passed a law prohibiting breed-specific bans. However, the city sued and a judge ruled in favor of the city in April 2005.

Denver’s ban applies to Pit Bulls and similar mixed-breed dogs, regardless of the animal’s actual behavior. Critics of the ordinance say that a blanket ban on an entire dog breed is misguided and that the law should instead target irresponsible dog owners and all dangerous dogs.

The new suit claims that Denver’s anti-Pit Bull ordinance effectively reduces owners’ choices to either surrendering their pets to have them euthanized or moving out of the city.

Well over 1,000 dogs have been seized and euthanized since the law went into effect in the spring of 2005, according to the lawsuit’s backers.

According to the American Canine Foundation, Denver is one of at least three major metropolitan areas, along with Miami and Cincinnati, to ban Pit Bull-type dogs.

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Dan   Orange County, CA

1/26/2012 9:40:23 AM

I had just bought a puppy and was driving it home through Denver. I was told by Denver police if I was caught with my 8 week old pup driving through Denver they would destroy it.


Seriously Denver affraid of an 8 week old puppy? If you banned every animal that bit someone you'd be left with a goldfish.


Hopefully people sue and win, punish the deed not the breed.


I have 2 pits and they wouldn't hurt a fly it's how you raise them not the breed you should lock up bad owners.

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richard   oklahoma city, OK

2/2/2010 10:09:12 AM

i live in oklahoma city sveral incorperated towns have passed anti pit bull laws i used to live in one of them the animal control came and tried to take my dogs my wife got them out i went to jail for shooting up there truck needless to say we moved out of valleybrook

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Michele   Freeport, IL

3/28/2009 10:16:56 AM

It's about time the owners fought back! I have both a Pit Lab mix and a Dachshund and they get along well.Between the two of them,my Dachshund is more likely to bite a stranger!I am sad to see ignorant people get their way when these laws are passed.I hope we can learn to fight back.I wish this family the best of luck with their lawsuit.

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Laura   church hill, TN

12/26/2008 4:16:34 PM

I had one pitbull, but he wasn't enough for me! My husband and children kept stealing him! We got a second pitbull, but that still wasnt enough! Now we have 3 pitbulls! We all go to petsmart and lowes! People love them! People ask what they are, when told they pull back hands & children and look afraid for a second then go back to loving on our babies, always saying "oh my God I thought they were meen" I get mad sometimes, being from the North and now living in the south, I have said something like "yes, well being a Yankee I thought you were all stupid down here, but it turns out it is all in how you are raised. I always laugh but sometimes people just dont get it! I don't care who or what you are it all comes down to who raises you! Hope none of you are living with close minded jerks. ha ha

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