Denver Says "No" to Pit Bulls as Service Dogs

December 7 2010, 9:03 AM

Denver's ban on pit bulls remains in full force after the Denver City Council shot down a measure yesterday that would have created an exemption allowing disabled people to own the dogs. By a vote of 9-4, council members said they were concerned the breed is unsafe and that an exemption could weaken the ban the city put in place in 1989, according to The Denver Post. David Kennedy, chairman of Denver's Commission for People With Disabilities, feels otherwise, saying the council is "chipping away at civil rights," while predicting lawsuits challenging the decision will cost taxpayers money. One concern to some council members was the language in the new Americans with Disabilities Act rule, which prevents officials from asking if a dog is a service animal—meaning there's no guarantee the dogs would be trained.

But the U.S. Justice Department's new rules for service animals also mean municipalities should no longer be able to prevent disabled persons from keeping restricted dog breeds for service as of March 15, 2011. The same subject has cropped up in Aurora, where a city committee recommended that the full city council agree to allow pit bulls as pets if the animals help people with disabilities, reports The Aurora Sentinel (via AP). Aurora also has a ban on pit bulls as pets.