Understanding Denver’s Breed Ban for Pit Bulls

Under Denver’s Ordinance Sec. 8-55, pit bull breeds (American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier) are banned in the City and County of Denver.
Pit bull type dogs are defined as any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing (physical) characteristics, which substantially conform to the standards established by American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club.

If your dog is impounded by Animal Care & Control as an illegal pit bull, American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire terrier or Staffordshire bull terrier, it will be brought to the Denver Animal Shelter for an official breed evaluation.

Breed Evaluations & Outcomes

If you are unsure of your dog’s primary breed, you can make an appointment with the Denver Animal Shelter for a breed assessment. If animal control has impounded your dog for suspicion of breed ban violation, you will be contacted with breed evaluation results within 3–5 business days. Evaluations are completed by three certified staff members who will determine if the majority of the physical traits are consistent with the banned breeds per the ordinance.

If the dog is determined to be one of the banned breeds, it will not be allowed to stay in Denver. The owner must relocate their dog to an address outside of Denver, and within a city that does not have a breed restriction ordinance.

If it is determined that the dog does not have the majority physical characteristics of the banned breeds, the dog will be allowed in Denver. The owner will be provided with an official breed evaluation letter stating that the dog was evaluated by Denver Animal Care and Control. All dogs in Denver are required to have a rabies vaccination, city license and be spayed or neutered or have an intact permit.

If you dispute the classification of your dog as a pit bull, you may file a written petition for a hearing concerning such classification no later than 7 days after impoundment.

For second offenders of the breed ban, the dog then becomes the property of Denver Animal Care & Control. Per the ordinance, animal control will evaluated the dog’s health and temperament to determine whether the dog can be relocated to a rescue outside of Denver.

Fees & Fines

If your dog is impounded & determined to be a pit bull breed, you will be responsible for all fines and boarding fees. Fines are determined by a judge; boarding fees are based on the amount of time your dog was at the shelter. If your dog is impounded & determined to not be a breed included in the ban, you will not be responsible for any boarding fees or fines. 

Report animal and pet problems to 311 using the online help form.

Report problems like:

  • Dangerous Animals
  • Abused or Neglected Animals
  • Abandoned Animals
  • Barking Dogs

Or Contact 311 By Phone

Within Denver dial: 3-1-1
Outside Denver: 720-913-1311
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