For the first time in 30 years, it will be soon be legal to own a pit bull in Denver. The City Council on Monday repealed a ban on the dogs enacted after a series of attacks in 1989. Shira Hereld cried at the decision. "I am over the moon," she told the Denver Post, noting she'd moved to the Denver suburb of Arvada with her mixed-breed dog to avoid the ban. "I was constantly concerned she wouldn't pass the visual test," she said. Dr. Kendall Houlihan of the American Veterinary Medical Association's Animal Welfare Division praised the decision, saying breed-specific bans are "an overly simplistic approach to a complex social problem."
"While it is commonly suggested, pit bull-type dogs also do not have unique 'locking' jaws that necessarily cause more damage than other large breeds," Houlihan tells the Denver newspaper. While some city residents described pit bulls as a "plague," the city ultimately decided to allow the dogs under a probation period. An owner can apply for a restricted license for a fee and with proof that the dog is vaccinated and microchipped. If there are no issues in three years, the pit bull will then receive a regular license. Animal control workers may inspect a home to ensure a safe environment, per KUSA. The change will take effect in 90 days when the mayor signs it into law, reports the Denver Channel. (Read more Denver stories.)