Class-action lawsuit filed against Denver and Aurora over pit bull ban
written by: Jeffrey Wolf Kevin Torres
DENVER - The federal authorities were clear when they told Denver it cannot deny residents from owning pit bulls as service dogs. Denver's defiant response is drawing a legal challenge.
Denver city leaders decided to uphold their pit bull ban on Monday night, despite the Department of Justice's request.
The Department of Justice says the ban clearly defies the American Disability Act.
The City of Aurora has a similar ban in effect. It will decide whether it wants to tweak its law in January.
The Animal Law Center based out of Wheat Ridge is now filing a class-action lawsuit against the City and County of Denver and the City of Aurora in direct regards to the violation of the ADA.
"I have clients who are disabled and who have had a dog chosen for them that is a pit bull and that pit bull is the best choice for them. That's the root of it. It's their choice," said Attorney Jennifer Reba Edwards with the Animal Law Center.
The center is representing three disabled people who own pit bulls. One lives in Aurora, another one lives in Denver and the third person lives in Washington State.
"I think it's wrong because they're taking away from the handicapped and elderly," said Allen Grider, one of the center's clients.
Grider is a disabled Vietnam veteran. His dog "Precious" is part pit bull. She is considered illegal in Aurora.
"She's good around kids," Grider said. "She's just a loving dog. She's my heart and soul."
Aurora's and Denver's city councilors voted to ban the dogs because they believe the breed is dangerous.
Some Denver city councilors say they're ready to fight the Federal Government in court.
"We're going to stand up for our home rule authority. That's a very sacred belief that we have in our laws in Colorado that our local government can control our animal control ordinances," Denver District 6 Councilman Charlie Brown said.
Brown says he's not sure if the city will win the debate, but he says it's an issue worth fighting for.
Grider is hoping Aurora won't make the same decision Denver did.
"It's just not fair," he said.
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