Denver Pit Bull Ban Lifted – Should You Go?

In November 2020, Denver residents voted to repeal the city’s pit bull ban. Does this mean people traveling with a pittie should visit the Mile High City?

Senior Pit Bull in Denver with fall foliage in the background

Denver repeals ban on pit bulls

On January 1, 2021, Denver, Colorado’s pit bull ban ended after 31 long years. However, this does not mean that these dogs will now be treated like all other breeds.

As of January 2, 2021, pit bull owners need a breed-restricted provisional license to have their dog in Denver.

Denver, Colorado skyline a beautiful park on a beautiful fall day

Who needs the breed-restricted license?

Prior to spending time in Denver, all dogs that exhibit the majority of physical characteristics of an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier must complete an in-person assessment by Denver Animal Protection ( DPA).

You can schedule an assessment at Denver Animal Shelter website. It takes 35-40 minutes and the cost is $25 per dog.

If your dog is determined not have a majority of the physical characteristics of restricted breeds, it will be allowed in Denver without a special permit. DAP will provide you with a letter indicating the results of your dog’s assessment.

If DAP determines that your dog has a majority of the physical characteristics of restricted breeds, you will need to obtain a restricted breed license.

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Outdoor portrait close-up American Pit Bull Terrier in Denver

Catch a Pit Bull in Denver

Even if you know your dog is a pit bull, you still need to complete the assessment in person and pay the $25 fee. Additionally, you will need to purchase the breed-restricted license.

The permit fee is $30. If the dog remains in Denver, the license must be renewed annually for three years. After three years, you can apply for an exemption from the breed-restricted requirements if your dog has not suffered any violations.

Information you will need

Here’s what you’ll need to get the breed-restricted license:

  • Name and address of owner where dog will be located in Denver
  • Names and addresses of two people who can be contacted in the event of an emergency involving the dog
  • A precise description of the dog and a recent photograph
  • Payment of the $30 breed-restricted license fee (in addition to the $25 assessment fee)
  • Either proof that the dog is spayed or neutered or an intact DAP permit allowing the dog to remain unchanged
  • Proof that the dog has a registered microchip implanted
  • A current rabies vaccination certificate
  • A dog has a municipal license, which costs $15 per year. (A municipal pit bull license can only be issued at the same time the breed-restricted license is approved.)
  • Any other information DAP reasonably requires
Pit bull sitting in front of a blue wooden fence in front of the garden with flowers

What if you are just visiting?

Unfortunately, there are no exceptions for pit bulls visiting Denver with their people. Simply put, you cannot bring a restricted breed dog into the city or county of Denver until you obtain a restricted breed license issued by the DAP.

This means you will need to schedule the assessment, take your dog to the in-person assessment, pay $25 for the assessment, complete the Restricted Breed License Application, and pay $30 for the license. Whether it’s worth visiting Denver is up to you.

Also note that owners can only have two dogs that require a restricted breed license.

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Dog in a red harness on a walk by the lake

What if DAP catches you without a license?

If you and your pit bull are stopped by a DAP officer and do not have the special permit, you will receive a warning and a mandatory request to bring the dog in for an assessment. DAP will perform a follow-up verification within 10 days of the warning.

If you don’t take the dog in for an assessment and apply for a permit, you may be subject to a court appearance or a fine, or the DAP may remove the dog from the home.

In short, we do not recommend flying it without the permit.

While we’re happy to see the pit bull ban lifted, Denver’s breed restrictions are still too discriminatory for us. There are so many other wonderful places to see around the country – we prefer to visit those that are all pet friendly.

Learn more: Denver Restricted Breeds/Facts About Pit Bulls

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