The three breeds of dogs that would remain banned from the city, unless they are service dogs, are American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
A change made to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) last July forbids cities from banning any breed of service dog. In December, the Denver City Council chose to violate the ADA by refusing to make an exemption to its Pit Bull ban for service dogs. Both Denver and Aurora have been sued over their breed bans.
A new amendment to the ordinance would allow genetic testing to determine a dog’s breed. Many Pit Bull advocates think the amendment is discriminatory.
David Edelstein, a Pit Bull dog dad and advocate against breed bans, told the Aurora Sentinel that the breed ban should be completely lifted, because anyone can claim their Pit Bull is a service dog. Federal law doesn’t allow public entities to make “unnecessary inquiries” into the existence of a disability.
“Anybody can jump on the Internet and for 25 bucks plus shipping, they can get themselves a service dog vest, and the city of Aurora can’t touch them,” Edelstein said.
Council members who voted to keep the ban said that serious bites from Pit Bulls have decreased since the ban was instated in 2006. “Pit bulls are Pit Bulls,” Councilman Bob Broom told the Aurora Sentinel earlier last month. “While 95 percent of them probably won’t ever cause a problem, the ones that do … cause serious problems. They can maim kids or even kill them. It’s just not worth it to me to risk that.”
Julie Cox, an Aurora resident and co-founder of Retriever Rescue of Colorado, told the Aurora Sentinel she was unhappy with the council’s decision to continue banning American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
“You would be hard-pressed to find anyone that could identify those breeds,” she said. “I was appalled that they chose that.” She said she would have preferred the breed ban to be replaced with a dangerous dog ordinance.
Linda Bryant, another opponent of breed bans, concurs. “A dog does what it is trained to do, regardless of the breed,” she told the council at last week’s meeting, according to the Denver Post. “A specific breed ban is not the solution to prevent attacks by dogs.”
The council will vote on the ordinance at a future meeting.
PHOTO: Lauren Briskin