As of January 2nd, 2021, pit bull-type dogs are legal in Denver, as long as their owners obtain a breed-restricted permit. (Note: All breeds of dog are required to be licensed within city limits.) If you suspect your dog may be a pit bull and need a permit, set up an appointment with Denver Animal Protection. Once your dog’s breed has been assessed ($25), you can get a permit for your Pitbull ($30). You will also need to purchase a city license ($15) at that time.
Registering your Pitbull
- Step 1: Schedule an appointment with Denver Animal Protection (DAP)
- Step 2: Go to the Denver Animal Shelter for a 30-45 minute breed assessment. This will cost $25.
- Step 3: If your dog is determined to be a Pit Bull-type breed, follow the application process for your breed-restricted permit. This will cost an additional $30. You will need:
- Your name and address of the owner where the dog will be located
- The names and addresses of 2 people who may be contacted in the event of an emergency involving your dog
- An accurate description of your dog and a recent photograph
- Proof that your dog has been neutered or spayed, or proof of an intact license from DAP
- Proof that your dog has a registered microchip implanted
- Proof that your dog has a current rabies vaccination
- Proof that your dog has a city license (can be purchased at the same time)
- Any other information that DAP reasonably requires
Breed-restricted permits must be renewed every year for 3 years ($30 per animal per year). If there are no violations within that time period, owners may request to remove the breed-restricted requirements. At that time, the dog will only need a city license ($15 per animal per year, or $40 for 3 years).
- Are Pit Bull-type dogs legal now in Denver?
All restricted breeds (American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier) are still illegal to own within the City and County of Denver unless you have a Breed-Restricted Permit for the dog issued by Denver Animal Protection.
- When is the new ordinance active?
The ordinance went into effect January 1, 2021.
- What if I have a dog that has already been determined to be illegal under the old ordinance?
Under the new ordinance, after January 1, 2021, you may bring the dog that was previously illegal back to Denver, but first you must obtain a permit. In order to do this, please bring the breed letter you were previously given into the shelter and request a permit application from the staff at the shelter.
- I’m thinking of moving to Denver. Can I purchase the permit online or call and buy the permit before I move?
Unfortunately, this is not an option. Denver Animal Protection needs to do an evaluation in person of the dog to determine its breed, and then you can purchase the permit if necessary. If you get your dog evaluated by Denver Animal Protection prior to moving, you are welcome to purchase the permit at the same time and then update it when you move to a Denver address.
- Can restricted breed dogs be adopted out now by Denver Animal Shelter or other local shelters to Denver residents?
Yes, but not until after January 1, 2021. Adopters of breed-restricted dogs must schedule a breed evaluation and then purchase a permit if Denver Animal Protection determines your dog to be a restricted breed.
- If I am a Denver resident and adopt a dog from a shelter other than Denver Animal Shelter that is a restricted breed, what do I need to do next?
Please schedule a breed evaluation and then purchase a permit if Denver Animal Protection determines your dog to be a restricted breed.
- I don’t know if my dog is a restricted breed. What should I do?
If you are unsure of your dog’s primary breed, you can make an appointment with Denver Animal Protection for a breed assessment. Breed assessments cost $25. If your dog is determined to have a majority of the physical characteristics of the banned breeds, you will need to follow the process for obtaining a Breed-Restricted Permit.
If it is determined that the dog does not have a majority of the physical characteristics of the banned breeds, the dog will be allowed in Denver without a permit. The owner will be provided with an official breed evaluation letter stating that the dog was evaluated by Denver Animal Protection. All dogs in Denver are required to have a rabies vaccination, city license and be spayed or neutered, or have an intact permit.
- How many breed-restricted dogs can I have?
The maximum number of breed-restricted dogs that any owner or keeper may have living in your home is 2.
- Can I bring my breed-restricted dog to an off-leash dog park?
Yes, once your dog has satisfied all of the requirements and been issued a Breed-Restricted Permit and a City license, the dog is allowed in any off-leash dog park in the City and County of Denver.
- What are the criteria for my dog being labeled a restricted breed?
Denver Animal Protection team members have been highly trained to evaluate the characteristics of a dog to determine whether it is a restricted breed. Many of these characteristics are apparent only to a trained professional.
- What if I disagree with Denver Animal Protection’s assessment of my dog?
If you dispute the classification of your dog as a restricted breed, you may file a written petition for a hearing concerning such classification no later than 7 days after the assessment.
- Why do I need to provide the names and addresses of two people in the application?
To fulfill the requirements of Denver Ordinance Sec. 8-67, all owners or keepers of a breed-restricted animal must have on file the names and addresses of two contacts.
These two contacts must be people who can take care of the dog or be able to control the dog when you’re not available. The people you designate as your contacts can be a family member, a neighbor or a friend, but that person is going to have to come get the dog if it escapes or is in an altercation. It needs to be someone who feels comfortable with and capable of getting the animal under control. This person is acting on your behalf and is responsible only for the care or control of the dog when you are not able to do so.
- What if I don’t get a permit for my breed-restricted dog(s)?
If you are stopped by Denver Animal Protection or are reported to DAP and found to be in possession of one or more breed-restricted dogs that have not been issued a permit, the following protocols apply:
- You will receive a warning and a mandatory request to bring the animal(s) in for an assessment
- DAP will perform a follow-up verification within ten (10) days of the warning. If you have not brought the dog in for an assessment and applied for a permit, you may be subject to a court appearance or a fine, or DAP may remove the animal(s) from the home.