Denver, Colorado has found its love for Pit Bulls again. On Tuesday, the city passed Ballot Measure 2J with an overwhelming majority of 64% to allow a permit system that allows people to own up to two pit bulls per home.
The breeds that are included in this provision are American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Colorado Politics reports that the new legislation won’t go into effect until January.
Two attacks in the late 80s led to the banning of owning pit bulls in Denver, Colorado. The first was Fernando Salazar, who was three-years-old in 1986. He wandered into his neighbor’s yard and was mauled by their pit bull. The other was Rev. Wilbur Billingsley, who was 59 in 1989. Billingsley was left with more than 70 bites and two broken legs after being mauled by a dog.
Throughout recent history, there has been a common misconception that Pit Bull Terriers are more aggressive than other dog breeds but different organizations have set out to bust that myth. The American Pit Bull Foundation reported that they have done “ temperament tests conducted by the American Temperament Test Society that pit bulls had a passing rate of 82% or better — compared to only 77% of the general dog population.”
The Canine Humane Society has also reported that pit bulls are not “inherently aggressive.” They also urge that people who own this breed of dog, properly train them because they are a stronger breed of dog. The legislation says, “If no violations for the dog are recorded for three consecutive years, pet owners will be allowed to register their pit bull like any other dog in Denver.”
Denver’s city council previously voted on the legislature nine months ago and the vote almost passed with a 7-4 vote. But the mayor, Michael Hancock, later vetoed the vote. The councilman who proposed the bill later decided that the ban would be put up to vote for the public and the mayor promised that he would let the public be the deciding factor.
He told CBS Denver that if the issue was presented to “the vote of the people, we would honor the vote of the people.”