At a rally Friday against Denver's ban on pit bulls, the lone city council member in favor of the overturning the measure told a cheering crowd of about a hundred people that an upcoming federal lawsuit focusing on a loophole established by the Americans with Disabilities Act could weaken the ban so much as to make in unenforceable.
More details and a rally photo gallery below.
About the suit, which is scheduled to be heard on March 15, Carla Madison, District 8 councilwoman, said, "If you are walking a pit bull, you can be asked two questions: one, 'Is that a service dog?' and two, 'What does that dog for you?'' You can't ask for proof," because of ADA protections.
The lawsuit sprung up last summer; the plaintiffs were three military veterans, two in Denver and one in Aurora, who used pit bulls as service dogs. Those cities told the vets they needed to ditch the dogs, but the federal government intervened and said Denver, even as a home-rule city, did not have jurisdiction that could supersede the ADA. If the City of Denver loses the case, enforcing the pit bull ban could become a touchy issue, as city officials couldn't ask owners to "show me your papers" because of medical privacy matters.
District 8 City Council member Carla Madison on Friday in front of City Hall at the pit bull rally.
Madison also asked the audience how many of them actually live in Denver, to which a few hands were raised. A few more hands went up when she asked how many people in the audience -- many of them holding homemade signs -- had to move out of Denver or Aurora because of the ban.
People with dogs at the rally all said their pets weren't pit bulls
The rally's first speaker, David Edelstein, opened his remarks with the statement that more than 4,000 pit bulls have been euthanized since 2005, when the ban went into effect. The evidence -- as displayed in these graphic images -- caused an uproar among supporters of the breed, who on Friday likened the mass euthanization to World War II and the Holocaust.
Read more about the pit bull ban in Denver: "For two decades, pit bulls have been public enemy #1 in Denver. But maybe it's time for a recount" (September 2009)
"Pit-bull service-dog exemption rejected by Denver City Council" (December 2010)
"Pit bull activists bring Pit Fest to City Hall" (January 2011)
Photos from the rally: