An expensive legal battle over Denver's pit bull ban may lead to a change in the law. A Denver City Council member has issued a proposal to bring the breed back.
Councilwoman Carla Madison says her proposal focuses on responsible ownership, rather than a particular breed of dog. The mayor's office is considering the plan and says safety is its top priority.
"It would still be illegal to have a pit bull in Denver unless you go through these basically hoops," Madison said.
Pit bull owners would have to pay $50 for a permit, get temperament testing and own liability insurance of $100,000. There would also be a home inspection and mandatory obedience and ownership responsibility classes. Owners must be at least 21 years old. It would also possibly require muzzling in public.
Lingering lawsuits since 2007 against the city may go away if the pit bull ban is reworked. Legal fees are mounting.
Karen Breslin is the attorney suing the city.
"Lifting a ban is absolutely a step in the right direction," Breslin said. "It could make it go away, absolutely, but I'd have to see the ordinance first. I'd have to know what the proposal was."
Councilman Michael Hancock is not interested in changing the ordinance. He was attacked by a pit bull when he was 9 years old.
"I was bit by a pit bull and it took several men and a water hose and a 2-by-4 to get the pit bull off my ankle," Hancock said.
The issue is still in the very early stages of discussion and nothing has been formally written or proposed yet.
The pit bull ban in Denver was passed 20 years ago.
Madison says she's hearing from people all over the country on the issue.
A "dangerous dog ordinance" is also being considered. Owners of dogs that display aggression, regardless of breed, would be required to take classes.
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