Our goal is to repeal Denver Municipal Code Section 8-55, which is Breed-Specific Legislation that for over 20 years has outlawed pit bulls and pit bull ownership in Denver, Colorado. The stigma of unprecedented and unprovoked violence attached to pit bulls has, for too long, led to unfounded discrimination against this breed and owners. DMC Section 8-55 makes it illegal to own pit bulls within city limits, and has led to the systematic euthanasia of thousands of pit bulls by authority figures, regardless of prior history and record of behavior. Whether these dogs have owners or not does not offer them protection under this unjust legal statute.
Below are some of the reasons we believe the BSL in Denver should be repealed:
- The BSL further propagates the social stigma surrounding pit bulls, specifically that they are all inherently hostile creatures and pose a serious threat to society. “To give a statistic, 75% of Austin’s tethering calls are related to pit bulls, and 22% of its stray dog calls are related to pit bulls. (Source: City of Austin, 2008). The higher the abuse of a particular breed of dog, the more likely it is going to exhibit aggression. Studies have found that a tethered dog is 2.8 times more likely to attack. So, it is reasonable to presume that the breed suffering the most abuse will exhibit the most problems.”
- Despite having not recorded history of violent outbursts, pit bulls are often judged harshly under the guise of these laws and sentenced to death. This legislation essentially does away with the Constitutional Right of Due Process.
- Roughly three pit bulls are euthanized every day in Denver’s city animal shelter.
In 2009 alone, over 3400 pit bulls were euthanized due to this BSL.
- The myth that pit bulls are capable of inflicting more damage upon humans and other animals is completely unfounded. “One study conducted by Dr. Brady Barr of National Geographic showed that the average domestic canine has an average bite of 320 pounds of force. In one portion of the documented study, Dr. Barr tested three dog breeds, a German Shepherd Dog, a Rottweiler and an American Pit Bull Terrier. The Rottweiler bit with 328 pounds of force, the highest pounds of force ever recorded from a domestic dog. The German Shepherd bit with 238 pounds of force, and the an American Pit Bull Terrier bit with 235 pounds of force”.
- Pit bulls are often portrayed as being naturally aggressive towards humans; however, this is simply not true. “No dog breed is human aggressive by nature. Pit bulls pass the American Temperament Testing Society’s test at a rate similar to, if not higher than, many other medium-to-large, powerful breeds. The American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier pass at rates of 86.4%, 84.2%, and 89.7% respectively. Compare this to Golden Retrievers (84.9%), Great Danes (79.9%), Weimaraners (80.5%), and Standard Poodles (86.3%), to name just four common breeds. They also do extremely well when compared to small breeds: Chihuahuas (71.1%), Pomeranians (75.8%), and Papillions (80.2%)”.
As the short list above demonstrates, there are legitimate reasons for wanting to put an end to DMC Section 8-55. It is legislation such as this that serves to further an ignorant agenda of “peace-keeping,” while simultaneously propelling a deeply ingrained social stereotype and inflicting unwarranted punishment upon animals and their owners. It is necessary and urgent to repeal section 8-55 of the Denver municipal code in order to put an end to the execution of thousands of innocent dogs, and stop their owners from suffering the legal and emotional repercussions due to unfounded prejudice and a lack of knowledge.