Are pit bulls allowed in Colorado? - Front Range Injury Attorneys

Are pit bulls allowed in Colorado?

Pit bulls are a beloved breed by many, known for their loyalty and affectionate nature. However, they have also been the subject of controversy, with some cities and states enacting breed-specific legislation (BSL) that restricts or bans their ownership. If you’re a pit bull owner or considering adopting one in Colorado, you may wonder about the state’s stance on these dogs. In this article, we’ll delve into the topic of pit bulls in Colorado and explore the laws and regulations surrounding them.

Overview of Breed-Specific Legislation

Before diving into Colorado’s specific regulations, let’s first understand what breed-specific legislation is. BSL is a law or ordinance that restricts or prohibits ownership of certain breeds of dogs deemed dangerous or aggressive. These laws typically target breeds such as pit bulls, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds, among others. BSL is controversial, with some arguing that it unfairly targets certain breeds and doesn’t effectively address the issue of dog attacks.

Understanding Colorado’s Laws on Pit Bulls

Currently, Colorado does not have any state-level BSL. This means that pit bulls are not automatically banned or restricted throughout the state. However, local governments are allowed to enact their own BSL, and several cities in Colorado have done so.

For example, Denver has a long-standing ban on pit bulls that dates back to 1989. The ban prohibits pit bulls within city limits and requires those found in the city to be euthanized or relocated outside of the city. Aurora, another city in Colorado, also has a breed ban on pit bulls.

Other cities, such as Fort Collins and Colorado Springs, do not have BSL and allow pit bulls. However, it’s important to note that even in cities without BSL, pit bulls may still be subject to other regulations, such as leash laws and requirements for vaccinations and licensing.

Denver, Colorado and its long standing pit bull ban

The City of Denver enacted a pit bull ban in 1989 that prohibited owning the breed anywhere in city limits. Ordinance 8-67 prohibited owning or keeping possession of a pit bull in Denver with few exceptions. Exceptions included an owner who obtained a dog license from the Denver Animal Shelter on or before August 7, 1989 and any humane society or licensed animal shelter that placed a temporary hold on a pit bull.

Under this ordinance, anyone who lawfully owns a pit bull in Denver must keep the dog confined in a home or secure enclosure. The dog also must be spayed or neutered and remain current on rabies vaccination. The dog owner must post pit bull signs at all property entrances. The penalty for unlawful ownership or harboring a pit bull within Denver is immediate impoundment of the dog.

The city has attempted at times to repeal the ban and permit the breed in Denver. In 2020 the mayor vetoed an attempt to repeal on the basis of public safety.

Other Denver cities banning pit bulls

Denver is not alone among Colorado cities to prohibit owning pit bulls. Several other cities, primarily in the front range, enacted breed restrictive ordinances against pit bulls. If you own or intend to obtain a pit bull, it is important to know the law in your city or any city where you intend to move. Otherwise you may face fines, impoundment, or other penalties. Currently, the following Colorado cities ban pit bulls:

  • Aurora
  • Commerce City
  • Lone Tree
  • Louisville
  • Fort Lupton
  • Simla

Some of these cities ban other dog breeds. For example, Louisville and Broomfield ban any wolf-dog hybrid breeds. Lone Tree bans any fighting dog breed including pit bulls, American bulldogs and canary dogs. Owning a prohibited dog may result in impoundment and placing your dog in a shelter. The owner then must choose to surrender the pet or move to another city without a restrictive ordinance.

The Debate Over Breed-Specific Legislation

As mentioned earlier, breed-specific legislation is a controversial issue. Proponents argue that it’s a necessary measure to protect public safety, while opponents argue that it’s discriminatory and ineffective. Although people disagree whether the breed or owners are responsible for the problem, statistics indicate that in Denver pit bulls are among the top biting dog breeds across all dog bite incidents.

Those in favor of BSL argue that certain breeds, such as pit bulls, are inherently dangerous and pose a threat to public safety. They point to statistics that show pit bulls are responsible for a disproportionate number of dog attacks and fatalities. BSL supporters also argue that by restricting these breeds, they can prevent future attacks and reduce the number of dogs in shelters and euthanized.

On the other hand, opponents of BSL argue that it’s not an effective way to address the issue of dog attacks. They argue that aggressive behavior in dogs is not breed-specific and that it’s the result of factors such as lack of socialization, training, and irresponsible ownership. They also argue that BSL is discriminatory and unfairly targets certain breeds, and that it can lead to the destruction of family pets and increase the number of dogs in shelters.

What to do if a banned breed bites you

Dog bites can result in serious injuries, no matter the breed. Although larger dogs may cause more damage, even a small dog can result in permanent injuries. In Colorado, you must report a dog bite to the proper authorities.

If you were injured in a dog attack in Colorado, you may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim against the pet owner. Colorado includes several types of dog bite laws for injury claims, including strict liability. Strict liability holds the pet owner liable for injuries and damages, even if the owner lacks prior knowledge of the dog’s propensity for violence or previous attempts to bite somebody. In general, you do not have to prove the owner possessed a banned dog breed. You can pursue a claim or lawsuit regardless of the breed and seek financial compensation. The pet owner may owe compensation for damages including medical bills, lost wages, permanent lose of use and other damages. As long as you did not instigate the attack and you were lawfully on the person’s property, you can seek fair compensation. Talk to an experienced dog bite attorney today about your case.


  1. What is BSL, and how does it affect pit bulls in Colorado? BSL stands for Breed-Specific Legislation, which is a type of law that restricts or bans certain dog breeds deemed dangerous by lawmakers. In Colorado, some cities have implemented BSL targeting pit bulls, which can make it challenging for pit bull owners to keep their dogs.
  2. Are pit bulls allowed in all cities in Colorado? The laws regarding pit bulls vary by city in Colorado. Some cities have no restrictions on pit bulls, while others have BSL targeting them. It’s essential to research the regulations in your city and ensure that you comply with any requirements.
  3. What steps should I take if I’m considering adopting a pit bull in Colorado? Before adopting a pit bull in Colorado, research the regulations in your city and ensure that you comply with any requirements. Make sure you’re prepared for the responsibilities that come with owning a dog, including proper training and socialization.
  4. Are there any organizations or resources available for pit bull owners in Colorado? Yes, there are several organizations and resources available for pit bull owners in Colorado, such as the Colorado Pit Bull Rescue and the Rocky Mountain Puppy Rescue. These organizations provide support, education, and advocacy for pit bull owners and their dogs.
  5. What should I do if my city has BSL targeting pit bulls? If you live in a city with BSL targeting pit bulls, it’s crucial to comply with the regulations and ensure that your dog is licensed and up-to-date on vaccinations. You can also consider advocating for changes to the BSL, such as working with local lawmakers or joining a community group that advocates for responsible dog ownership.

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