Kristina Bergsten

Service Dogs and Denver’s “Pit Bull Ban”

Many people with disabilities use Pit Bulls as service dogs. In Colorado, many cities ban pit bulls and owners may find themselves with a criminal citation for owning and possessing a pit bull – but the dog may also be euthanized once forfeited to the city. The following cities ban pit bulls:


Commerce City

Fort Lupton

La Junta (also bans: American bulldogs, dogo argentinos, canary dogs, presa mallorquins, tosa inus, cane corsos and fila brasilairos)

Lone Tree


Many newcomers to the area are concerned that their pit-bull-service-dogs will be confiscated by the city. However, the Americans with Disabilities Act is federal law and therefore preempts any breed specific legislation passed by a city. Therefore, you may have a service dog that is a pit bull in these cities.

However, it is important to make sure that your pit bull meets the requirements of a service dog under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) in order to provide yourself and your service dog the fullest protection under the law. Under the ADA, “a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.”

Interestingly, a service animal can only be a dog or a miniature horse. No cats, ferrets, pigs, etc. may be a service animal under the ADA.

Every situation involving an animal is unique. Therefore, it is always recommended that you speak to an animal law attorney to fully understand your rights and obligations under the law to best protect yourself and your service dog (or miniature horse!).

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