Restricted Dog Breeds in Denver and the Surrounding Communities

In the 1980s and 1990s, many parts of Colorado enacted breed restriction laws that limited the types of dog breeds which individuals could possess. At that time and since their passage, these laws have been highly controversial. Although many of those laws remain, changes and modifications to those laws have been ongoing since that time and Denver passed new legislation on this matter in the 2020 election.


Denver Municipal Code 8-67 prohibits the ownership of Pit Bulls within the City and County of Denver. “Pit Bulls” include any dog that is an American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one (1) or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds.

The primary change in this law after the 2020 election, and beginning on January 1, 2021, is that there will be situations where one of the above listed breeds can live and reside in Denver. Under the new ordinance, an individual can apply for a “pit bull license.” In order to be afforded such a license, that individual must show, among other things, that: 1) the dog has been vaccinated for rabies, 2) that the individual applying for the license be at least 21 years of age or older, 3) they have purchased and have active liability insurance on the animal, 4) the dog must be spayed or neutered, 5) signage must be posted at the residence where the dog will reside indicating a pit bull lives at that residence, and 6) an annual license fee must be paid.


In October 2005, the Aurora City Counsel enacted legislation which prohibited the ownership of certain breeds within the Aurora City limits. Those restricted breeds include: 1) American Pit Bull Terrier, 2) American Staffordshire Terrier and 3) Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Since that time and until just recently, a conviction in Aurora Municipal Court for violating the restrict breed ordinance required a mandatory minimum fine of $700 and could include up to one (1) year in jail.

On Monday, January 11, 2021, the Aurora City Counsel voted to repeal this ban and allow these three breeds back in the city limits.

Other communities along the front range also have similar restrictions. Those communities include: Commerce City, Lone Tree, Louisville, and Fort Lupton.

These cases are often paired with a charge for Ownership of a Dangerous Dog, and as such, can become very complex matters where your individual liberty, your finances, and the life your animal may be at jeopardy. Contact our office today for a free legal consultation and to discuss your case with our experienced Denver criminal defense attorneys.