The American Kennel Club® (AKC®) will be joining Karen R. Breslin of the Progressive Law Center, LLC of Lakewood, Colorado and the Washington D.C. office of Kaye Scholer LLP in representing dog-owning plaintiffs Sonya Dias and others who are asserting that the Denver ordinance banning pit bulls within the city limits is unconstitutional.
In March the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, where the plaintiffs’ 2007 lawsuit was originally filed, dismissed the suit without granting a hearing. A brief is being filed today in the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit asking to reverse that court’s decision and grant the plaintiffs/appellants a hearing on the unconstitutionality of the Denver breed ban. The original lawsuit stated Dias and the other owners were forced to move out of Denver with their dogs because of the ban which they asserted was a violation of, among other things, their constitutional rights.
The Denver ordinance bans ownership or possession of the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Bull Terrier and the American Pit Bull Terrier and/or any dog with a majority of physical traits of one or more of these breeds within the city or county of Denver. Since 2005, as a result of this ordinance, several hundred dogs within the city limits had been euthanized.
The AKC supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs. The AKC believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs. We support laws that: establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as “dangerous” based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous. We believe that, if necessary, dogs proven to be “dangerous” may need to be humanely destroyed. The AKC strongly opposes any legislation that determines a dog to be “dangerous” based on specific breeds or phenotypic classes of dogs.