After a dog related incident that was attributed to a dog officials describe as “pit bull terrier”, officials in Breckenridge Colorado are investigating the possibility of enacting a breed discriminatory law. The incident in question involved a dog on dog attack.
Though Colorado state law prohibits breed based laws, Denver had successfully sued against the state based on what is called home rule. Denver won the case, effectively opening the door to a home rule city in Colorado being allowed to enact similar laws.
Simply put, home rule is a town charter that allows a municipality the right to self governance, independent of the laws of the state.
A report created by the chief of police mentions the ability of home rule jurisdictions to be able to pass these laws.
From the report:
“In 2004, the State of Colorado passed a statute prohibiting municipalities from enacting breed specific bans. The City and County of Denver filed a civil complaint citing their ability as a Home Rule entity to enact and enforce legislation as a matter of local or jurisdictional concern. The District Court upheld the right of a Home Rule municipality “to regulate dangerous dogs within its community”.“
This report appears to be an investigation of the other places in Colorado that have breed discriminatory laws in place. There was no official recommendation but the report mentions a work session that was scheduled for September 10th.
Under the item asking if a person feels some breeds are more dangerous than others, there are several breeds listed for people to indicate which dogs they feel are more dangerous.
The breeds listed are Doberman, Mastiff, German Shepherd, pit bull, Malamute, Chow, Rottweiler, Husky and an “other” category.
According to the minutes of the August 27th meeting, a council member raised the issue of the dog attack, which occurred during a cycling event.
This was taken directly from the minutes of that meeting, ”Mr. Gallagher mentioned the pit bull terrier incident on Hoosier Pass during the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. He stated he believes Breckenridge should get in front of the situation and do something about aggressive dogs in general and pit bulls in particular. Mayor Warner polled the Council on their thoughts about this issue and the decision was made to charge staff with identifying problem breeds and look to see what other communities have done regarding this issue.“
The statement of “identifying problem breeds” implies what the survey backs up, that, should they continue down this path, they will be restricting multiple breeds, their mixes and look a likes.
The minutes from a subsequent meeting contain the following excerpt, “We would like to have a bigger discussion about dogs and people being irresponsible with their pets. Look for some more conversation in the community.”
Residents of Breckenridge should reach out now to their council members and ask that all dog owners be held to the same standards. The importance of making sure that everyone in the community is safe from dangerous dogs of all kinds should be stressed. Politely and respectfully oppose any breed discriminatory laws and point out their failure to improve public safety. Since officials were looking at Denver, you can view information on Denver’s failure here: http://www.nationalcanineresearchcouncil.com/dogbites/state-by-state-information/co/denver
Breed neutral alternatives can be found here: http://stopbsl.org/alternatives-to-bsl/
There is no direct contact information available for the Mayor or the Town Council but there is an online contact form available on the cities website.