Mayor Hancock hasn’t decided on pit bulls yet — he’s also never vetoed a city council bill

The bill would effectively end the city’s pit bull ban. The mayor has yet to say whether he will sign it.
3 min. read
Two weeks-old pit bulls get a walking tour of Colfax during Taste of Colorado, Sept. 2, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Denver residents opposing a bill effectively ending the city's pit bull ban delivered a petition on Thursday to Mayor Michael Hancock's office asking him to veto the bill.

The bill passed Monday by a 7-4 Denver City Council vote. Hancock's office told Denverite the mayor has not yet decided whether he will sign the bill. The mayor has until Sunday to sign, veto or let the ordinance proceed. If the mayor chooses not to veto the bill by then, it becomes law without his signature, according to mayoral office spokesman Mike Strott.

Strott said in an email to Denverite that Hancock has never vetoed a city council bill during his eight-plus years in office.

"Mayor Hancock wants to be thoughtful regarding his decision about this, and as such he hasn't decided yet to sign the ordinance or not," Strott said in an email.

Paul Vranas gathers advocates for Denver's ban on pit bulls in front of the City and County Building. Feb. 13, 2020. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Lead petitioner Paul Vranas stood outside the City and County Building on Thursday along with Pam Jiner, co-chair of Montbello 2020, and other Montbello residents before delivering the petition. They were joined by Councilwoman Debbie Ortega, who supports their efforts. She was among the council members who opposed the bill.

Vranas and others oppose the bill on public safety grounds, arguing that its effective repeal will put elderly residents and children in harm. They pointed to two recent incidents: The same night city council voted to approve the bill, a 5-year-old child was killed by a family pit bull in Los Angeles, while a man attacked by a family pit bull in Illinois last week died Monday from his injuries.

Vranas, a father of a two and five-year-old, said the pit bull ban has kept Denver residents safe for more than 30 years.

"Mayor Hancock, we plead with you, do not sign this bill into law," Vranas said. "Let's take a more measured approach, collaborative approach, engaging all of the community."

Jiner was among several Montbello residents who testified against the bill during a courtesy public hearing Monday before the City Council vote. The neighborhood has among the highest number of animal control calls for pit bulls. Jiner said their presence in the neighborhood adds to the health concerns faced by residents there.

"I say get rid of them. I don't think they should be in the world," Jiner said.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect Hancock has until Sunday, not Tuesday, to sign the bill into law. 

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