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Scrapping of Aurora Pit Bull ban moved to city council for consideration

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A bid to repeal Aurora's 2005 ban on pit bulls will go before city council members next month.

The council's three-member Public Safety Committee on Tuesday moved the issue to the full council. It will be considered at a council study session March 3 and, from there, it could be placed on the council's regular meeting agenda.

Council member Renie Peterson has been the driving force behind lifting the ban. She tried unsuccessfully to do it in 2011. While scrapping the ban, her current plan would require pit bull owners to carry homeowners or renters insurance. It would also increase the cost of a fine for owners of dogs that bite someone.

Aurora's Animal Care Division (animalcare@auroragov.org) has come out in favor of keeping the ban, according to a memo from spokesperson Cheryl Conway:

"The Aurora Restricted Breed ban ordinance was enacted in 2005 when council chose to take a strong position against the ownership of 10 breeds of dogs historically bred for fighting," Conway wrote. "This was in order to deal with serious issues and injury that had been inflicted by these types of dog . (In 2011, the banned breeds were reduced to just three: American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and Staffordshire bull terriers.)

"Staff is concerned that if Aurora's ban is repealed, it is likely the pit bulls banned in Denver, Commerce City, Castle Rock, Louisville and Fort Lupton will move into our city and the earlier issues and serious injuries to people might resurface."

Juliet Piccone, an Aurora animal rights attorney, argues that the ban is based on fear-mongering and not peer-reviewed, scientific evidence showing other factors are involved in attacks instead of breed.. She has been involved in legal cases against seizure of the banned breeds.

Other ban opponents have been pressuring the city for years to end the ban, which has resulted in hundreds of pit bulls being euthanized.

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