Voters in Denver Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to overturn the city’s 30-year-old ban on the ownership of pit bulls. The Ballot Measure 2J passed by nearly 30 points, securing a 64.75% to 35.36% of voters’ assent.
With this vote, residents are now able to own pit bulls as long as they keep to the requirements of the Denver Animal Protection, which stipulates that the pit bulls be microchipped among other such measures.
All through the years that the ban lasted, critics of the city’s move to ban the breed had consistently called for its repeal. However, the city hinged its decision on the violent nature of the dog breed.
However, many who favored the ban cite statistics such as the lack of a single pit bull-related death since the ban went into effect in 1989. This is in stark contrast to the five years preceding the ban whereby the city witnessed about 20 attacks, including the one that claimed the life of a 3-year-old girl three years earlier, NBC News reports.
Earlier this year, Denver’s city council had voted to overturn the ban. That vote was tossed away by the city’s Mayor Michael Hancock using his veto powers. Hancock expressed concerns that someone could get hurt if the ban was lifted.
According to Denver Post, the new measure grants residents the ability to own up to two pit bulls at a go if they secure provisional licenses. If they’re able to go three years without any incident, the temporary license could be transmuted into a full license.
The Humane Society of the United States is one organization that has opposed the ban on pit bulls, describing the measure “as inhumane and ineffective.” It said the policy was rather rapidly put into effect without credible data and science.
The group, Replace Denver Breed Specific Legislation, in a Facebook post, hailed the overturning of the ban, which it described as “an absolutely historic win.”
A spokesperson for the mayor reacted to the vote by residents, saying that although Mayor Hancock was not disposed to overturning the ban due to concerns that he had, he had been clear to leave the ultimate decision to Denver voters.
The new measure has not been certified and is not expected to take effect until January 1, 2021.