Advocates for pit bull ownership, including members of ColoRADdogs, congregate before a city council meeting March 3 at the Aurora Municipal Center. City lawmakers informally voted to uphold Aurora's ban on pit bulls. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora Sentinel)

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.”

BLOG, BLOG, BLOG: Perry says don’t let pit-bullies steer an Aurora election

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.

5 replies on “Aurora considers asking voters to end city’s ban on pit bulls”

  1. They can put it to the voters and we will still vote to keep the ban on pit bulls, Too many ghetto rats own them so keep the ban.

  2. I am disappointed to see that CM Berzins discounts the efforts of Aurora citizens that have addressed council.
    Kudos to CM LeGare for acknowledging the premise upon which the ban was enacted is not supported by scientific facts or evidence. Recent evidence and conclusions by orgs such as the ABA, CDC, and JAVMA suggest a comprehensive approach, including education, increasing accessibility to resources such as vet care and training, and enforcement on owners that continue to mismanage their dogs. None of these orgs, or countless other reliable orgs, support breed specific legislation as a means of improving public safety.
    This article does not acknowledge the significance in the proposed changes to protocol in handling all dangerous dog calls. Many factors regarding the incident, the dog, and the owner would be considered to determine how to best eliminate a credible danger to the community by the dog or the dog’s owner. The new forms are substantially more complete and each case can be handled on a case by case basis, as it should be.
    Public safety is the first priority, and we deserve to be equally protected from any dog that poses a risk.
    Kudos to CM Cleland for introducing these proposed changes and to city staff for working hard to create the amendments.
    Let’s repeal the breed ban so we can focus on protecting our citizens equally, acknowledge that all dogs can pose a danger, treat victims equally, send a message of accountability to all dog owners, and stop wasting resources on enforcing an ordinance that fails to address the real issue.

  3. I will be there to vote to continue the ban. Why would the voters overturn this? How many people actually want to own pitbulls? I can’t see it being over 1%-2% of the populace of Aurora. So why would I vote to allow an animal whose mere presence makes me uncomfortable? I get the whole my pitty is nice, he wouldn’t hurt anyone argument. The facts are that a pitbull has the physical attributes that enables it to kill or maim me whereas I think I could protect myself from a black lab attack. these are animals, we all saw what happened to Kyle Dyer these ” “sweet” animals could decide at any point to attack. What if I had a a Hyena and I trained him to be really sweet. Could I take him for a walk down the HighLine canal, or play fetch with him near the preschool? What? he is nice……

  4. Do you want the shelter to be 70% full of pit bulls again?

    “According to city documents,” Sapin wrote, “before the ordinance was enacted in 2005, up to 70% of kennels in the Aurora Animal Shelter were occupied by pit bulls with pending court disposition dates or with no known owner. That number is now only 10% to 20% of kennels.
    Said Conway, “There hasn’t been a human mauling in many years. Complaints and requests related to pit bulls are down 50%. Euthanasia of pit bull dogs is down 93%. Those few who are put down are primarily those that come in as strays, whose owners don’t come to claim them.”

  5. Pit-bull Rescue Central, the leading authority of pit bull types admits most pit-bull types are not safe around other dogs. For that reason alone is why I do not consider them safe family pets for our neighborhoods. These are powerful animals that break away from their guardians all the time and maul & kill another beloved pet or person in front of a child or person. This is a typical pit attack on another beloved pet: Children & adults have watched their beloved pets be mauled to death by pit bulls. Many develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after watching a horrific pit attack: Breaking-up pit attacks is dangerous 1/3 end up attacking the person that’s breaking up the fight.

    According to Pit Bull Rescue Central, “It is a FACT that our pit bulls, AmStaffs and pit mixes come with a built-in fighting heritage.It doesn’t matter where we get them from, whether it be the pound, a stray we pick up, or a puppy we buy from a breeder. The majority of pit bulls will, at some point in their lives, exhibit some degree of dog-on-dog aggression. This type of animal aggression is completely separate from human-aggression; a well-socialized pit bull is very good-natured with people.Yet, chances are that a “normal” pit bull will not share his affection with other animals.We cannot predict when or where it will happen and we can’t love, train or socialize it out ofthe dog. Pit bulls may not start fights, but they will finish them.”

    The Pit Bull Rescue Central recommends ALL pit guardians to have a break stick. FOR ME THIS IS ANOTHER RED FLAG! Does not sound like a safe family pet if you need a breakstick on hand. “Since pit bulls have a strong fighting background, we recommend that pet owners also have a breaking stick as a precaution, even if they don’t plan to use it in an illegal context. However, please be discreet. Breaking sticks are not something to brag about and the general pubic might have the wrong impression if you walk around with a stick in your hand. Breaking sticks are not illegal, but they are considered dog fighting paraphernalia in certain states and/or with certain law enforcement agents.” This person demonstrates how to use a break stick on a pit-bulls:

    I appreciate that Pit bull Rescue Central, is telling pit-bull guardians not to take their dog to off-leash parks but many pit guardians are still very ignorant to this recommendation. What is bewildering to me is that Pit Bull Rescue Central admits that other beloved dogs in the community are not safe around pit-bulls because of their genetic makeup but promotes them as a great family pet. For me this is a red flag that you are compromising public safety and the safety of our beloved pets in our communities. Of all the dog breeds, they are the all time number one killer of humans and other people’s beloved pets. Then these pit-bull advocates are oblivious and offended why people do not want these dogs in the neighborhood. REALLY? Are you really that blind? Do I really have to spell it out for you? Many people in the neighborhood have beloved pets that they consider family members. They are concerned for their pet’s safety and they do not want their dog to get mauled to death. Now people in the neighborhood who have pets have to live in fear if this powerful pitbull will get away from the guardian and hurt or kill their beloved pet. Almost all dog guardians have experienced a mishap where their dog gets away from them by mistake.

    Many pit-bull breeders who are breeding for human aggression to create guard dogs. Most pit-bulls types come primarily from unethical backyard breeders who are trying to breed aggression, not good temperaments. Often, their dogs are the product of reject pits purchased from dog fighters as cheap stock. So with the pool of pit bulls we have, you cannot tell the difference between a cold one and one that might snap. (unprovoked aggression). So basically people who have pits are playing Russian Roulette against our communities. Here is a clip of unethical pit-bull breeders.

    Not all cigarettes killed people, but they’re ban in almost all public places now. Not all sliding railing baby cribs killed babies, govt ban them anyway. Not all ford pintos exploded, govt ban them. Not all lawn darts hit people in the head but govt ban them. Just because not every pit bull kills someone does not mean pit bulls are safe. Dozens of people have been killed by pit bulls in the US already in 2014. I know many people love pit bulls, but that’s too many deaths, and sometimes bans save us from ourselves. But don’t worry, there are hundreds of other dog breeds to chose from that do not kill dozens of people a year, so everyone will still be able to have a dog to love.

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