AURORA | City voters could decide at the polls in November whether Aurora should lift its longstanding ban on pit bulls.
City Council members at a public safety committee meeting Thursday morning discussed a potential ballot question that would ask Aurora voters whether or not they want to lift the ban, allowing residents to own pit bulls again, with some restrictions.
“Council has been lobbied from people around the world, said Councilwoman Marsha Berzins. “Since we are getting lobbied from everybody except Aurorans, I think it’s only fair Aurora citizens tell us what they want.”
Council would have to approve a city resolution by August in order to put the question to voters, said Aurora’s Interim City Attorney Mike Hyman. He said if residents voted to lift the ban, council would also be limited in repealing it.
“The beauty of a resolution is there are provisions in the charter that limit the ability to come back and change the voter-approved measure. If voters vote yes, you would have to go back to the voters to permission. There is a risk involved,” he said.
Councilman Bob LeGare said he was concerned about language in the resolution that described pit bulls as stronger and more aggressive than other dogs.
“We’re claiming it’s a fact, and it’s not a scientific fact,” he said. “If this is as cut and dried as we say it is, we wouldn’t be getting all of these calls across the globe about pit bulls.”
City Manager Skip Noe said the earliest the measure could go before a council study session is June 2.
Deputy City Attorney George Zierk, also presented changes the city is looking at making to its vicious animal ordinance at the meeting.
He said the amendments are not substantial, some simply involving changing any language that describes an animal as “vicious” into “aggressive.”
He said the changes would also allow the city to approach aggressive animal complaints on a case-by-case basis by requiring a disposition for all aggressive animal charges.
“It will involve an animal care officer, victim, city attorney, and judge. It will bring all parties together. Everyone will have input on the situation,” he said.