Thursday, April 28, 2011

Aurora, Colo., lifts pit bull ban for service dogs


AURORA, Colo. -- The Aurora City Council voted April 25 to allow pit bulls back into the city on a very limited basis.

The Council voted 6-3 to allow disabled residents to use the dogs as service animals. The Council also reduced the number of banned dog breeds from 10 to 3.

Under pressure from residents who were angry about pit bull attacks, Aurora banned pit bulls in 2006.

But a federal change to the Americans with Disabilities Act now forbids communities from banning any type of service dog. Both Denver and Aurora have been sued over their pit bull bans.

Three pit bull breeds, the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and Staffordshire Bull Terrier, will continue to be outlawed in Aurora, except for disabled residents who meet the city's licensing requirements.

At Monday evening's City Council meeting, a handful of residents weighed in on the proposed ordinance. Several said the dangers of pit bulls have never been proven and that the ban should be tossed out entirely.

Councilman Bob Fitzgerald, who has clashed with pit bull advocates in the past and voted against the ordinance, said the new A.D.A. mandate effectively junks the pit bull ban.

He questioned whether pit bull owners would take advantage of the looser restrictions by bringing dogs into the city to which they're not entitled.