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Proposal to allow pit bulls in Denver moves forward

The proposal, which would phase in legal pit bull ownership, passed a committee Wednesday morning.

DENVER — A proposal that would phase in legal pit bull ownership in Denver will move forward to the full city council following a discussion in a committee hearing Wednesday morning.

City council member Chris Herndon presented changes to the city's ban on pit bulls at the meeting. He's proposing a licensing system that would allow people to own pit bulls within city and county limits so long as they acquire a special license. 

RELATED: Denver to consider legalizing pit bulls

A draft of Herndon’s proposal reviewed by Next with Kyle Clark last week calls for a program to allow pit bull owners to come out of the shadows and eventually register their dog like any non-restricted breed after 36 months in the program. 

The plan would also allow Denver Animal Protection and humane societies in the city to adopt out pit bulls, which is currently prohibited. Adoptive owners would be automatically enrolled in the breed-restricted license program.

Denver banned three breeds under the umbrella term “pit bulls” in 1989 amid concerns that the dogs were disproportionately aggressive and violent.

Herndon is proposing that pit bull owners be allowed to register their dogs with specific identifying information about the dog, its home address and owners.

Owners would be required to notify Denver Animal Protection within eight hours if a pit bull escapes or is involved in a biting incident. Owners would also have to tell the city if they move or the dog dies.

RELATED: Pit bull advocates push cities to repeal bans on breed

A maximum of two pit bulls per household would be allowed. The program would permit animal control workers to inspect a pit bull owner’s home for safety. Herndon said last week he expected that provision would be used sparingly.

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