Target: Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper
Goal: Ban Colorado legislation that allows for the killing of household pets and service dogs
Just within Denver city limits, more than 3,400 dogs with “pit bull” characteristics have been confiscated and euthanized by the police since the beginning of the city’s Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). Other neighboring cities have also enacted BSL, including Aurora and Commerce City, which means that the death toll is even higher. Not only are Colorado police able to seize and kill family pets for no other reason than their physical appearance, but correctly identifying the breed of dog has been an ongoing problem. Denver Animal Control uses subjective measures, such as the width of the head and the length of the nose, to determine whether a dog is a pit bull or pit bull mix. Animal Control is not trained to correctly identify breeds and all it takes for a dog to be confiscated and killed by Denver police is for an officer to determine that a dog has “pit bull characteristics.”
In 2009, Lawyers for the Animal Law Center proved that Denver Animal Control has been misidentifying dogs. A family pet named Dexter was confiscated by the police because officers determined he was a pit bull. Experts and four veterinarians proved that the dog was actually a boxer mix, which questioned the legitimacy of the standards used to identify dog breeds. Even after this, BSL has continued in the state, and every citizen with a dog that resembles a pit bull is at risk of getting their dog seized and killed.
Not only are families losing their pets, but a disabled veteran has recently filed a lawsuit against Denver because the city refused to recognize his service dog, which was a pit bull. Other veterans have even lost their pit bull service dogs because of the city’s ban, which is a blatant violation of the American with Disabilities Act. Colorado’s BSL is so far-reaching that all dog owners in the state are at risk of losing their pets based on arbitrary guidelines.
Please demand that Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, ban Breed Specific Legislation and stop allowing police to murder thousands of family pets and service dogs.
Dear Governor John Hickenlooper,
Breed Specific Legislation in Colorado has gone too far. Not only have statistics proven that BSL is ineffective and that pit bull bites are overrepresented in the media, but family pets are being confiscated and euthanized for no other reason than their physical appearance meets subjective standards implemented by Animal Control. In 2009, Lawyers for the Animal Law Center proved that Animal Control officers were incorrectly identifying dogs as “pit bulls” when a boxer mix was confiscated. 75% of dogs are mixed breed, and using arbitrary standards to determine whether a dog is a pit bull allows Colorado police to exercise the power to confiscate and kill family pets, regardless of what breed the dog actually is.
Veterans and other disabled persons are also being discriminated against because of BSL in Colorado. Disabled persons with pit bull service dogs (or service dogs with pit bull characteristics) have lost their dogs because of Denver’s overarching legislation. This is a blatant violation against the American with Disabilities Act, and as you know, lawsuits are pending against the city of Denver for these atrocious abuses of power. More than 3,400 dogs with pit bull characteristics have been confiscated and killed because of the BSL in Denver alone. Families are losing their pets for no other reason than stereotypes about pit bulls, which are perpetuated by the media and BSL around the country.
BSL is not only immoral, but it is ineffective as well. More dog bites per capita have been reported in Denver since the enactment of BSL than ever before. Instead of squandering tax money on ineffective and cruel legislation, Colorado could be using this money to encourage responsible dog ownership, end dog fighting, arrest those who neglect and abuse animals, or to heighten regulations on dangerous dogs, regardless of the dog’s breed. Please end Breed Specific Legislation in Colorado and stop confiscating and killing family pets.
[Your Name Here}
Photo Credit: denver-pitbulls via youpet.com