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Pit bull advocates and supporters from all over the country waited with bated breath on Monday evening as news broke that the bill to overturn the 30 year, pit bull ban in Denver failed to reach the necessary votes after Mayor, Michael Hancock vetoed the initiative on February 14th, 2020. The vote needed to reach a total of nine to overturn the Mayor’s veto, and in a devastating conclusion fell short by one at eight to five.
In the week since the initial bill was vetoed, support has flooded the Mayor and Council Member’s offices asking them to reconsider their decision based on overwhelming, scientific evidence that breed specific legislation does nothing to create safer communities. Councilman Chris Herndon, who initially proposed the bill earlier this month, expressed disappointment at the mayor’s decision by listing expert organizations that support ending such bans and listing cities across the country that have already repealed their own pit bull bans.
“I’m getting to the point where I’m running out of sources - large and small - to say this is why we should be doing this,” Herndon said.
The council members who opposed the bill are,
Kevin Flynn - District 2
Stacie Gilmore - District 11
Paul Kashmann - District 6
Debbie Ortega - Council at Large
Amanda Sawyer - District 5
Councilman Herndon has stated the fight will not end here. He already has plans to begin placing a similar initiative on the November 2020 ballot. And Council Members, Kevin Flynn and Stacie Gilmore have expressed they could be persuaded to support the bill when it returns, with a few modifications.
Stacie Gilmore said that for her support, the repeal must pair with increased funding for Denver Animal Protection to ensure compliance and enforcement. While Kevin Flynn has stated that the measure must also require pit bull owners to have liability insurance in case their dog does attack anyone.
So where do we go from here? Supporters - including ourselves - have inundated Denver Legislators with endless research and statistics disproving BSL and yet here we are, with council members ignoring the data and demanding further restrictions that target the dog rather than those who manipulate and exploit them.
Let’s not give into this fight. We need to persist until BSL is eradicated nationwide. Below are the direct e-mail addresses and office numbers for the 5 council members who voted against this bill. Please continue to contact them with your photos, stories, knowledge and education. We may have lost this round, but we’ll take the win in the end.