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You can't keep a raccoon as a pet in Denver.
You can't keep a raccoon as a pet in Denver.
Will Scullin/Flickr

Reader: Taking Away People's Animals Is Pretty Uncool

A recent Twitter exchange between the Denver Police Department and someone inquiring about whether a pet raccoon is legal in this city got us thinking: What animals are and are not allowed to be kept as pets in Denver?

Turns out, there are plenty of rules, so We compiled a list and included the city's reasoning behind certain breed bans. Here's what readers have to saw about allowable and banned pets:

Says Rick:

So glad pitbulls are banned. My daughter was attacked by one. They are bad news.

Notes Josh:

So much for freedom and liberty, huh? Taking away people's animals is pretty uncool.

Adds Regan:

But if you don’t have a front license plate on your car, you’re f’ed. Denver sucks.

Comments Scott:

Nice living in a free country.

And then there's this from Kathleen:

People, PLEASE just go to your local humane shelter and rescue a life!

Instead of, say, capture a raccoon...which is an illegal pet in Denver. And there are many other animals that can't be kept in a home.

"[City ordinance] basically says people can't have venomous snakes, can't have a snake larger than six feet in length, can't have crocodiles," says Daniel Ettinger, a Denver Animal Protection officer.

According to that ordinance, Denver residents also can't have poisonous spiders or scorpions or keep squirrels as pets. Pit bulls are banned in Denver, too, unless they're being used as service animals.

Ettinger says that he and his colleagues don't usually come across prohibited pets. But they've seen some weird stuff. "A few years back, we actually had someone keeping a large caiman as a pet. It was four or five feet," he remembers. For those less familiar with reptiles, a caiman is basically a small crocodile.

Are there any pets that you think should be banned or allowed in Denver? Let us know in a comment or at editorial@westword.com.

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