Denver voters bypass Democratic mayor’s veto, lift 30-year ban on pit bulls

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Denver voters heavily favored a ballot measure Tuesday to overturn the city’s 30-year-old ban on pit bull ownership. That’s well over 100 in dog years.

Ballot Measure 2J passed by almost 30 points, 64.75% to 35.36%, according to the city’s website.

The move will allow residents to own pit bulls – as long as they are microchipped and meet requirements set by Denver Animal Protection.

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Critics of the ban argued that a dog’s breed alone was not a valid indicator of whether it would be violent and that the city had wasted millions on enforcement.

But the ban’s proponents said since it went into effect in 1989, the city had not seen a single pit bull-related fatality. In the five years before the ban, the city saw 20 attacks, including one that killed a 3-year-old in 1986.

Denver’s city council voted to repeal the breed-based ban earlier this year, but Democratic Mayor Michael Hancock vetoed the legislation.

Under the new measure, residents can apply for provisional licenses to own up to two pit bulls at once, according to the Denver Post. If they go three years without any incidents, they can have a full license.

The Humane Society of the United States opposes pit bull bans “as inhumane and ineffective.”

“Breed-based policies are based on myths and misinformation, rather than science or credible data.” The organization says on its website. “Their impact on dogs, families and animal shelters, however, is heartbreakingly real.”

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Breed-based regulations can lead to over-filled animal shelters – and then the dogs can’t be adopted because they violate the bans, according to the Humane Society.

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