Denver, CO: Dog owner challenges Denver’s pit bull evaluation and wins

(The 3-minute video at that link gives more detail, including several seconds speech from Linda Hart, one of the dog experts who testified about the breed ID mistake made by Denver’s “experts.”  The dog in the case is also shown for several seconds.)

Dog owner challenges Denver’s pit bull evaluation and wins

By Julie Hayden KDVR Denver

October 9, 2009

[…] The city uses three experts to evaluate the dogs and determine whether they are predominantly pit bull.[…]

The hearing officer ruled the dog owner’s experts were right, and the City’s experts were wrong.[…]

Full article retrieved 10/10/09 from,0,5301116.story

4 responses to “Denver, CO: Dog owner challenges Denver’s pit bull evaluation and wins

  1. with all these experts being hired for subjective opinions & educated ‘guesses’ about a dogs breed/breeds…..why not shift the focus to something measurable; temperament.
    How ‘dangerous’ a dog is should be judged by his behavior, not his looks. C’mon people, common sense stuff here.


    Rulling on “pit bull” spared revives debate on Denver’s ban
    By Jordan Steffen
    The Denver Post

    Posted: 10/11/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT
    Updated: 10/11/2009 01:24:14 AM MDT

    On Monday, an administrative judge ruled that Denver Animal Care and Control must remove the pit bull breed label from Kevin O’Connell’s dog.

    On Friday, O’Connell, 40, of Thornton, and his boxer-mix Dexter celebrated the ruling.

    O’Connell’s attorney, Jennifer Edwards of The Animal Law Center, said the reversal could be a first step toward combating the controversial ordinance that bans pit bulls from Denver.

    “This ruling absolutely disqualifies Denver in having any expertise in breed determining,” Edwards said.

    Breed determination, Edwards said, is the crux of the city’s ability to enforce its ban on pit bulls.

    During a July business trip, O’Connell left Dexter with friends who live in Denver. Animal control was called to the residence on an unrelated incident and saw Dexter in the backyard.

    Officers suspected Dexter of being a pit bull and seized him. A few days later, the dog was subjected to a breed examination, during which he was found to have a majority of pit-bull characteristics.

    O’Connell challenged the finding.

    Animal Control director Doug Kelley said that this is not the first time a classification has been lifted and it is not uncommon for dog owners to contest exam results.

    “This is the example of why we have this process in place,” Kelley said, “and this outcome only demonstrates that it is working.”

    Once a confiscated dog is labeled a pit bull, it can no longer live in or visit Denver. Dogs in violation may be relocated or euthanized.

    The exam panel is made up of two animal-control officers and a veterinarian technician, each of whom completes an exam of the dog to determine its breed characteristics, Kelley said.

    Edwards, who presented testimony from American Kennel Club judges and professional dog handlers during the hearing, said the city’s process is inadequate and called the examiners unqualified. She said this ruling could lead to more dog owners coming forward to challenge the results of exams.

    But Kelley said city dog examiners receive special training and field experience in determining a dog’s breed based on its physical characteristics and traits.

    Jordan Steffen: 303-954-1638 or

  3. I think child molestors in Denver should be killed, not pit breeds. People of Denver, get out there and fight against this. No dog should be destroyed unless it has hurt someone with cruel intentions. Denver sucks.