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  • Writer's pictureDavyd Smith

Aurora Colorado Must Rethink Breed Specific Legislation: Moving Towards Responsible Dog Ownership

For nearly two decades, Aurora, Colorado, has had Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) in place, banning pit bulls and staffies within city limits. This history of BSL in Aurora has problematic roots, and the city's needs to work with #EndAuroraBSL efforts to develop a more equitable and effective approach to dog safety.

Breed Specific Legislation (BSL): A Flawed Response to Pop-Culture Trends

In the 1990s, many U.S. cities, including Aurora, enacted BSL in response to a surge in pit bull popularity within media portraying them as guard dogs. This negative stereotype, however, ignored the fact that aggression can occur in any breed. Bloodhounds, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Dobermans held the title of "most aggressive" in previous decades, highlighting the arbitrary nature of breed bans.

a recent study by DU analyzing Denver’s BSL concluded that “the disproportionate enforcement of BSL in underserved communities and communities of color perpetuates historic trends of discrimination and marginalization in the United States, and negatively impacts social cohesion of these communities

Breed Specific Legislation BSL and Systemic Racism

Studies have shown that BSL enforcement often disproportionately targets communities of color. A recent Denver University study linked BSL to historic patterns of discrimination, raising concerns about its fairness and effectiveness in promoting public safety.

Aurora Moves Towards a Fairer Approach

Recognizing the limitations of BSL, Aurora took a crucial step in 2014 by allowing voters to decide on the pit bull ban. Unfortunately, the ballot question itself was poorly phrased, potentially influencing voters.

In 2018, Aurora Animal Services embarked on a two-year effort to gather public input on a revised animal ordinance. The overwhelming community response favored a dangerous dog ordinance based on behavior, not breed. This led to the recommendation to remove breed restrictions in 2019.

Image of a dog in patriotic clothing in teh stye for WWII American Poster.  Says I want you to hel us save dogs in aurora.  Sign up to volunteer at

Looking Forward: A Common-Sense Approach to Breed Specific Legislation

Currently, Aurora City Council is crafting a new ordinance for the next municipal election. This time, the focus is on a responsible dog ownership policy that addresses dangerous behavior in all breeds. This approach prioritizes public safety while ensuring responsible pet owners aren't penalized for the breed of their dog.

By moving away from BSL, Aurora is taking a positive step towards a fairer and more effective system for promoting dog safety within the community.


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