Denver won't exempt service pit bulls

Dec. 7, 2010 at 4:57 PM
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DENVER, Dec. 7 (UPI) -- A Denver ordinance banning all pit bulls could be in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act because it includes service animals, advocates say.

The city council voted Monday night against exempting service dogs from the ban, The Denver Post reported. Some of the nine members who voted against an exemption said they are worried by an ADA provision that users of service animals cannot be required to provide proof that a dog has been trained for the role.

"I need to be able to see that the animal is trained," Councilwoman Peggy Lehmann said.

Pit bulls have been banned in Denver since 1989. The breed is one of the most commonly used for fighting and has a reputation for aggression, but pit bull advocates say the problem is not the breed but the way many pit bulls are trained and socialized.

Disabled people with service pit bulls or who say they need them could sue the city under the ADA. The federal law requires local governments to make reasonable changes in ordinances to accommodate the disabled and the outcome of litigation would depend on how "reasonable" is interpreted, the Post said.

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