Who in Aurora wants to live next door to a pit bull?
Of course not. We don’t either. Your answer to that question tells you how you need to vote on the ill-advised city ballot question, Prop 2D, asking Aurora residents to rescind an 8-year-old ban on pit bulls.
Most Aurora residents were wrong when they thought this has long been a settled matter. The city council prohibited pit-bull breeds in 2006 after a particularly unnerving spate of maulings in and near Aurora. Denver, too, had banned the dogs, and Aurora was quickly becoming a dumping ground.
Now here we are again. During the past few years, national pit bull groups and some local proponents have dragged out the old arguments, saying that these dogs are no more dangerous than any other, and that bad owners rather than bad dogs are to blame.
No. They’re wrong. And the evidence has long proved them wrong. Not the pseudo-science and irrelevant studies that these misguided pit-bull aficionados continually trot out. We’re talking about the indisputable evidence that shows that these dogs cause a wildly non-proportionate number of disfiguring and lethal attacks on humans and other dogs. Of the 38 people who were killed in the United States by dogs last year, two-thirds of those deaths involved pit bulls, which make up about 4 percent of the U.S. dog population. Get it?
Everyone understands that all dogs are tamed, wild animals, and every dog breed has been known to bite and maim. But you do not see collies break into convenience stores, intent on a dachshund, grab the animal and drag it and the owner, who was on a scooter for handicapped people. It happened recently in Englewood after an errant pit bull got out of its yard. It was a horrifying, bloody attack. Despite several people yelling at the pit bull, then pouring hot coffee on it, then pouring hot water on it, then hitting it with a piece of lumber, the pit bull killed the dachshund and would not let go of it. It’s a classic story involving how dangerous these dogs are when they attack, and how their attacks differ from that of most other dogs.
Many residents marvel that a city council as cautious as this one would now ask voters to renege on the ban. But the city council has been bombarded during the past few years to relent. Some on the council say they referred the measure to voters, certain it will fail, to silence the pit-bull proponents once and for all. After a voter mandate, no city council would thwart the direct will of voters.
It’s a dangerous game, one that you play an important part in. Rather than brushing past this measure as just one question on a crowded ballot, it’s important you pay close heed to how the question is phrased. Voters are being asked to create an ordinance to allow the pit bulls back in the city. It’s vital to vote “no” to ensure the animals don’t repopulate the community, bringing back the old, deadly problems.
We agree with pit-bull owners on this: Every dog owner must be accountable for their dog, regardless of the breed. The city has serious laws regarding irresponsibly harboring any vicious animal, and all dogs must be leashed outside their owner’s property.
But lions, bears, rhinos, cheetahs and pit bulls? Not allowed in the city, and there’s no good reason to change that. Vote no on Proposition 2D.