Aurora and Breed-specific Legislation


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    Bryon Taylor

    I’ve seen many people with Pit Bull type breeds around the neighborhood, and I see them being walked every day. The only thing the legislation does is make our neighborhoods more dangerous by preventing training and medical care for those that do have these types of breeds. As there is no such thing as a “Pit Bull”, bite statistics for these breeds are a combination of 7+ different breeds of dog (currently only 5 specific ones listed in the ordinance), which is also a problem as new “pit bull” breeds are being developed every year and there is no mechanism in the ordinance to to add or remove breeds from the ban.

    It is for this reason that Denver, Castle Rock, and Literally hundreds of communities across the country have been getting rid of breed-specific legislation. Studies show that it does not make communities safer, and the organizations that have come out against BSL (such as that which Aurora has in place) include the American Bar Association, The ASPCA, the Humane Society, the AVMA, the American Kennel Club, the CDC, and many other (and all of the largest) animal welfare groups, legal groups, and community safety groups are all against it.

    The reality is that this is bad legislation. Breeds are not the number one predictor of aggression, being spayed/neutered is. 70% of all dog bites are from male, un-neutered dogs. That is why aggressive dog legislation should focus on all dogs, not just a specific breed.

    Every generation has their “Aggressive” guard dog favorite. In the 50’s and 60’s it was the German Shepard. In the 70’s and early 80’s it was the Doberman. In the late 80’s Early 90’s it was the Rottweiler. Now it’s the Pitbull, and agressive attacks are up with them because that is the dog most preferred currently as a guard dog.

    There are a ton of shows and pop-culture reference to the fact that Policeman, Service trainers, and etc. are adopting “Pit Bull” breeds as service dogs more and more. This supports the idea that “Pit” breeds take well to training and are disciplined when then do so. It’s not just law enforcement, there is a significant rise in “Pit” breeds being used as service dogs.

    The point is that Aurora needs common-sense dog legislation that applies to all breeds.

    The City of Aurora is about to commision a study on these issues, and it is important that as a community, we make our decisions based on logic and legislative reality as opposed to the cherry-picked data and skewed statistics that pressure groups like “Dogs Bite” use to push fear as a method to maintain breed-specific legislation. If the 7+ breeds that people call “pit” combined sound frightening, that is because the statistics from any group of seven species of combined large dogs. If they seem more aggressive right now, it’s because media and pop-culture are currently pushing them as “guard dogs” and irresponsible owners are following suit.

    Denver, Castle Rock, and over 700 cities across the country have started to ditch these bans. It’s not because people want “pit” breeds, it’s because people already have “pit” breeds and new breeds are being declared every day. If we want to legislate dog aggression, then put responsible dog ownership laws into place for all owers, adopt licensing for dogs who have had an incident, allow all breeds access to training and medical care, and allow people who may have aggressive breeds to obtain and maintain insurance for them should something happen.

    It’s 2020. We can be smart about how we legislate this issue. Thanks to Aurora Animal Services for their recent studies and information packets on the issue. Shout out to Alison Hiltz for her recent push at common-sense and responsible ownership, to Alison Coombs for her requests to hear more from the community, and the rest of the city government and council including Mayor Mike Coffman, Council Member Françoise Bergan (Ward VI), Mayor Pro Tem Nicole Johnston (Ward II), Council Member Crystal Murillo (Ward I), Council Member Juan Marcano (Ward IV), Council Member Dave Gruber (At Large), Council Member Angela Lawson (At Large), Council Member Curtis Gardner (At Large), Council Member Marsha Berzins (Ward III)

    If you agree that it is time for commons-sense legislation, sign our petition and letter to our Mayor and City Council and let them know.

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