Denver Pit Bull Veto Override Vote Set for Next Week

The pit bull drama sparked by Mayor Michael Hancock's veto will go on for longer than initially thought.
The pit bull drama sparked by Mayor Michael Hancock's veto will go on for longer than initially thought. Photo by Lucas Ludwig on Unsplash/YouTube file photo
It has been widely reported (including by Westword) that the Denver City Council meeting scheduled for February 18 would include a vote to potentially override Mayor Michael Hancock's veto of a bill that would effectively repeal a ban on three pit bull-related breeds that's resulted in thousands of pits being euthanized since it was put in place circa 1989.

But, no. The vote has instead been set for the council meeting next Monday, February 24.

Why the delay? According to a city council representative, it's all about timing. Council staffers had expected Hancock to make the decision about what turned out to be the first veto of his mayoral tenure sooner than 5 p.m. Friday, February 14 — a time traditionally used by politicians to bury controversial news.

By the time Hancock's choice was made public, most council staffers had already left for the three-day Presidents' Day weekend. That made it logistically difficult to squeeze in what will almost certainly be an extended block of time needed to discuss, debate and re-vote. (The measure was originally approved by a 7-4 margin — one presumed opponent and one likely supporter were absent — and nine votes are required to override.) So for the convenience of legislators and members of the public on either side of the issue, the matter was bumped until February 24.

Council member Kevin Flynn offers a different explanation. "It’s not that we couldn’t fit in the time, but rather that our open meetings and notification requirement demands it," he says via email. "The agenda is published as of noon Thursdays, and with the veto coming afterward, we legally couldn’t make the requirement for notifying the public of the agenda item... although I’m sure there’s not a soul around, human or canine, who wouldn’t have known about it."

Whatever the case, the drama of what's currently the most-talked-about Denver story both locally and nationally will build for a week longer than originally expected. And given that Colorado Governor Jared Polis has already trolled Hancock over his move, a lot can happen between now and then.

Update: This post was updated at 5:19 a.m. on February 19 to include information from Denver City Council rep Kevin Flynn.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts