After repeal on ban, pit bulls have become one of Denver’s most-adopted dog breeds

Certain dog breeds get a bad rap. Pit bulls especially have an unfair reputation as particularly vicious, aggressive dogs.

But many pit bull owners will tell you that it’s not about the breed, but the person who raised them: many pet pit bulls prove to be the sweetest, most loyal pets.


The breed’s reputation caused them to be outright banned in some areas. The city of Denver had a law banning pit bull ownership for 30 years.

But in 2020, the law was finally repealed in an election day ballot measure. And once pit bulls were legal again, it turned out that many people were actually eager to adopt them: in the year since the law was overturned, pit bulls have become one of the most-adopted dog breeds in Denver.

According to Denverite, 100 pit bulls were adopted from the Denver Animal Shelter last year. The breed went from being completely illegal to the second-most-adopted dog breed in the shelter, just behind Chihuahuas, which led with 115 adoptions.


They got adopted at a higher rate than popular breeds like Labrador retrievers and German shepherds.

The Denver Animal Shelter saw immediate interest in pit bull adoptions as soon as the ban was lifted. They announced on January 5—just a few days after the new ordinance went into effect—that a pit bull named Gumdrop had the honor of being “the first Pit Bull adoption since the new breed ordinance.”

Gumdrop was found on the street and taken to the vet, city public health spokesperson Kyle Wagner told Denverite. He wasn’t microchipped, so after a five-day hold, he was put up for adoption.

He made history after being adopted by a family. A photo showed Gumdrop — renamed Odin by his new owners — looking happy as he left the shelter.

We are so excited to celebrate the first Pit Bull adoption since the new breed ordinance! 🎉🎉🎉❤️ ⁠⁠Gumdrop was so happy…

Posted by Denver Animal Shelter on Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The city’s pit bull ban had been a persistent but controversial law for three decades. It was only during the 2020 election that a new measure to undo the ban — finally making it legal to own a pit bull, as long as they were registered, microchipped and vaccinated — made it onto the ballot.

In an election year full of divisiveness and contested wins, the new ordinance was one choice that passed with flying colors: according to the Denver Post, the measure passsed with a reported 64.5% approval rate.

Over a year later, it’s clear that citizens’ enthusiasm for pit bulls hasn’t waned, and many people have been willing to let these good dogs into their hearts and homes.

We hope that pit bulls continue to find loving homes in Denver, and hope their success inspires other places outlawing pit bulls to reconsider their bans.

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