Denver's city council has voted in favor of repealing a 30-year ban on owning pit bulls and other terrier dogs, CBS Denver reports. The proposal, which replaces the ban with breed specific licensing, was passed by a vote of 7-4.
The legislation update will allow citizens to have a pit bull in the city — with some conditions, according to a tweet from the city council detailing the change. Pet parents must register their pup with Denver Animal Protection (DAP) and get their dog a "breed-restricted license," the tweet said.
Owners must submit the pet's description, as well as provide proof that the animal was microchipped, has been spayed or neutered and is up to date on its rabies vaccination. There is also a limit of two pit bulls per household and the DAP must be notified within eight hours if the pet escapes or bites someone.
The law will take effect in 90 days in the city, according to the city's tweet, if the mayor approves it.
Colorado councilman Chris Herndon introduced the legislation that would repeal the ban, which was put in place after a deadly attack on a 3-year-old child in southwest Denver. During the public hearing addressing the ban, community members were divided in their opinions about it and shared their personal experiences with the animals — both good and bad.
Those in favor argued that the previous law was both outdated and flawed; opponents of the ban said this breed of dogs are a continued risk to public safety.
"In a nurturing environment pit bull behavior may be no different than any other dog, however many pit bulls do get cared for differently, which is why they are involved in a higher number of attacks," ban opponent Paul Verenes said.
"I walk these dogs with my mom and all they want is love and snuggles. It breaks my heart knowing they don't have the loving home they deserve," said Caroline Smith, a young girl who described her experience volunteering at a shelter.
More than 900 cities across the U.S. have some type of legislation against pit bulls, according to a compilation by DogsBite.com. Karen Martiny, founder and executive director of Animal Rescue of the Rockies, told CBS News on Tuesday that she's glad Denver has shed away the ban.
"We've been waiting for many, many years for the folks on the Denver City Council to open their eyes and join the progressive community in the rest of the country regarding this issue," she said.
However, she still believes the new licensing program is still "unnecessary" and it discriminates against pit bulls and their owners.
"Pit bulls are just as safe as other breeds — all dog owners need to be responsible for raising well mannered dogs," Martiny said. "A dangerous dog law is the only one proven to work - one that targets individual dogs and their owners, NOT breeds of dogs."
"All dogs, including pit bulls, are individuals," wrote the ASPCA in a position statement on its website about the breed. "Treating them as such, providing them with the care, training and supervision they require, and judging them by their actions and not by their DNA or their physical appearance is the best way to ensure that dogs and people can continue to share safe and happy lives together."