August 12, 2006

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home : life in aurora August 12, 2006

8/3/2006 12:05:00 AM Email this articlePrint this article 
Pit bull experts, backers vow to challenge breed ban
Lawsuit slated to reach federal court

By J.C. O'Connell
The Aurora Daily Sun & Sentinel

Aurora | Pit bull aficionados are gearing up for their next attack on the city's breed ban.

Attorney Caroline Cooley said Aug. 2 she was ready to file a lawsuit in federal court challenging the ban on pit bulls on behalf of the American Canine Foundation, an Aurora resident who owns a pit bull and a Brighton pit bull owner who has rental property in Aurora.

"There's no data anywhere in the United States that proves breed-specific laws work," said Glen Bui, vice president of the canine foundation. "We're here to take out that law and put a better law in place. We want effective legislation, not this genocide of (a) dog breed."

Cooley said the ban is unconstitutional because it violates property rights, due process and interstate commerce laws.

City Attorney Charlie Richardson said he was confident the breed ban, which took effect Jan. 31, would hold up in court.

"It's hard to believe that the federal court would entertain a civil suit primarily because the state courts have not had a full opportunity to adjudicate the claims," Richardson said.

Tina Villani of Brighton filed a suit challenging the ban in Adams County court last month. In February, an Arapahoe County court dismissed a similar suit, also filed by Villani.

Opponents of the pit bull ban said the trend toward breed-specific legislation suffered a major setback in March when an Ohio court ruled a ban on pit bulls as unconstitutional.

The court stated that pit bulls are not inherently more dangerous than other breeds and therefore regulating ownership was unreasonable and discriminatory.

Florence Vianzon, the Aurora resident named in the lawsuit, said the ban is unfair and the city should be held accountable.

Aurora grandfathered in 477 pit bulls since the ban took effect. Restrictions include requiring owners to pay $200 a year for a dog license and carry $100,000 of liability insurance.

Cooley said the average pit bull owner spends $900 annually to meet those requirements, creating a separate class of citizens from other Aurora dog owners who pay $7 for a dog license.

Related Stories:
• City faces another lawsuit on pit bull ban

Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, August 04, 2006
Article comment entry by: Sherry White

I currently reside in Greenwood Village and was chased out of Denver because of owning a Pit Bull/mix. I ALREADY have $100,000 in liability insurance even though my dog has never bitten or even snarled at anyone. Responsible dog owners take care of their pets just like any other responsible dog owner. But these dogs and their owners are the ones that are being discriminated against. It's the Salem Witch Trials all over again, but this time - it's in Denver. Denver needs to take a look at California's laws that encourage pet ownership and welcomes pit bulls into their community. Maybe Doug Kelly should get out of his office more and see what other cities are doing! Now, not only do I have one Pit Bull/mix, but I've adopted another. They're the best!!! Sherry White

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