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Denver voters to decide future of pit bulls in the city, county

The bill refers the issue to the Nov. 3 ballot.

DENVER — In a final vote Monday night, Denver City Council agreed 13-0 to allow Denver residents to decide in November if they want to end a three-decade ban on owning pit bulls. 

The bill to refer the issue to the Nov. 3 ballot was heard by the full Denver City Council last week, and the final vote was held Monday night. 

The debate on pit bulls in Denver has drawn a lot of attention – Mayor Michael Hancock vetoed a repeal on the ban earlier this year and city council did not have enough votes to override the veto.

RELATED: Denver's pit bull ban remains after council fails to override mayor's veto

The Denver ordinance says, “Pit bull breeds (American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier) are banned in the City and County of Denver.”

The pit bull ban was enacted in 1989, after 20 people were attacked by pit bulls in a five-year span, according to a 2005 article by Kory A. Nelson, senior assistant city attorney for the City and County of Denver, which outlined the history of the ban.

Hancock explained his veto of the bill created by Councilman Chris Herndon in a letter that was released shortly after his decision.

“…I do not believe this ordinance fully addresses the very real risk to severe injury that can result from attacks from these particular dog breeds, especially should they happen to a child.” Hancock said in the letter.

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