Are Pitbull mixes restricted? Expert Advice

Is a pitbull mix considered a pitbull?

The United Kennel Club does recognize a breed known as the American pit bull terrier, however, the term “pit bull” is commonly used to refer to mixed breed dogs with certain physical traits, such as a muscular body and broad head.

What Type of Dog Is an American Pit Bull Terrier?

The American pit bull terrier (APBT) is a medium-sized, short-coated, broad-chested, muscular dog from the terrier dog breed category of dogs. It is also known as a Staffordshire Fighting Dog, Bull Baiter Dog, Yankee Terrier and Rebel Terrier. It is a strong, energetic, courageous, devoted and very protective and agile dog that has a broad muzzle, powerful jaw, excellent stamina and power.

The pit bull terrier is a hybrid dog breed that was developed in the United States in the late nineteenth century by mixing an English bull and terrier dog (Old English terriers and Old English bulldogs) with an American bully type dog. Its recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA), but not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

They are considered to be the most favorite dogs for dog fighting games, and in many countries, they were used for dog fighting and blood sports.

Breed-specific legislation (BSL) is a law that prohibits or restricts particular dog breeds that are identified as dangerous or vicious. The rule applies to purebreds as dogs that are a mix of these breeds or resemble these breeds.

Is this type of legislation effective? Every country has its own standards for aggressiveness and the dangerousness of dogs. And in some countries, this is not the only criteria to ban a dog breed; some specific dog breeds have been banned or restricted on the basis of some other standards, like the breed was used for dog fights or has been known for certain diseases or health-related issues.

The Banned and Restricted Categories of Dog Breeds

The local BSL issues the list of dog breeds and guidelines, including which dogs are prohibited (banned) and which dogs can be kept subject to certain conditions.

The dog breeds that are not allowed on any condition are kept in prohibited or banned category. And the dog breeds that are allowed with certain conditions are kept in the restricted category.

According to the guideline of local BSL authority, you can pet the dogs of restricted breed on certain conditions:

  • If you are over 16 or 18 years of age
  • You already have experience in rearing dogs.
  • Dog required to wear a muzzle at public places.
  • Note, there may be other guidelines that the local BSL authority decides.

    What you Need to Know about Pit Bulls

    Breed bans are an unfair system of city and county ordinances that target social prejudices. These local government bans usually are not listed rental agreements or on home sale documents, and owners frequently are surprised by the sudden impoundment of their dogs as banned breeds. Furthermore, it is difficult to accurately identify a dog accused of being a banned breed simply based on their appearance.

    Over 700 cities across the nation have enacted breed-specific legislation, otherwise known as breed bans. Most notably, these breed bans prohibit the ownership and existence of certain socially-condemned breeds within a municipality. Most commonly, these breeds include American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, and American bulldogs. These breeds are all lumped into a category called “pit bulls.” Individuals and families must often surrender these types of dogs before moving into a breed ban city, acquire a legitimate service dog exception, or find somewhere else to live.

    Private property management can also prohibit certain breeds from inhabiting rental properties and private insurance companies may not provide coverage if you have a certain breed of dog. If a pet guardian does not do their due diligence before finding a new place to live or adopting a new pet it can create confusion and heartache when animal control inevitably comes around.

    While Colorado banned breed-specific legislation in 2004, certain “home rule” cities in Colorado were able to keep their breed bans. However, there has been a continued effort to eliminate these breed bans and allow pit bulls within city limits once again. Most recently, in 2018, Castle Rock eliminated its breed ban and instead implemented an ordinance that targets behavior of individual dogs. One other Denver suburb, Aurora, continues to struggle with its harsh breed ban. Aurora City Councilors have been pushing for measures to eliminate the city’s breed ban, although this has yet to occur as of the publication of this post.

    Each jurisdiction has different procedural mechanisms that allow pit bulls to remain in the city under certain circumstances or with licenses; allow the owner to challenge the designation or impoundment of a dog accused of being a pit bull; or allow for the removal to another jurisdiction as an alternative to euthanasia.

    Each jurisdiction also has complicated procedures for adjudicating the disposition of dogs alleged to be pit bulls, but each does so in a similar fashion. When deciding what happens to a dog alleged to be a pit bull the city adjudicates the issue as if he is a dangerous dog that has already injured somebody, despite that dog’s individual temperament or behavioral history. Take for example the language of the below Commerce City municipal code, under each section describing the procedures for impoundment, hearings and disposition the code states, “the animal is a vicious animal or a pit bull.”

    Penalties for having a banned breed in city limits may include the forcible surrender of the dog, the death of the dog, and can include heavy fines charged to the pet guardian and even include up to a year in jail.

    Below are five Colorado cities that still ban certain breeds with varying consequences, definitions, and conditions. This list is not exhaustive, and we encourage all pet guardians to be proactive in determining whether their city has a breed ban. If you are concerned about your dog being considered a pit bull or have questions about the status of breed bans in your city, call us today for a consultation.

    Families with pets, or who are considering adopting, should research before deciding on a place to live to make sure they are legal and not a banned breed. If you have a pit bull, other “fighting dog,”, or your dog just kind of looks like a pit bull and are concerned about their safety or your liability living in one of these cities, or your dog has already been accused of being a pit bull and/or been impounded, call us today to make sure your rights and your dog’s life are protected.