Challenge of Denver, CO Pitbull Ban
Dias v City and County of Denver
In 2008, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an amicus curiae brief in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality Denver's ban on pit bulls.
August 31, 2008
Submitted an Amicus Brief
In 2008, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed an amicus curiae brief in a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality Denver’s ban on pit bulls.
This ban — in place since 1989, with a one-year moratorium in 2004 — was challenged by three Denver residents whose companion dogs had been targeted by the City of Denver. The plaintiffs contended that from May 9, 2005, when the ban went back into effect, until the filing of this lawsuit in 2007, Denver had impounded and killed at least 1,100 dogs pursuant to the breed ban.
The plaintiffs alleged that the breed ban was vague on its face and deprived them of procedural due process, substantive due process, and equal protection of the law. They sought to invalidate the ban and recover damages for the expenses they incurred in moving out of the city to comply with the ban.
Denver moved to dismiss the action. The United States District Court for the District of Colorado dismissed the case in 2007. The plaintiffs appealed to the Tenth Circuit.
Our amicus brief in that appeal highlighted the arbitrary and cruel nature of Denver’s breed ban, under which companion dog owners in Denver have been deprived of the companionship of their dogs for no other reason than the fact that their dog either was a pit bull or was perceived to be a pit bull.
The appeal was successful. The Tenth Circuit remanded the case back to the District Court.
Unfortunately, on remand in 2011, the case was dismissed again by the District Court. As of June 2018, Denver’s pit bull ban remains in place.
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