Are Pit Bulls Allowed in Colorado? [Updated 2021]

Man taking his pitbull for a walk.

In certain areas of Colorado, it is illegal to own a pit bull or other breeds. These are controversial laws. Some believe they are a perfectly reasonable response to the risks posed by certain breeds of dogs that may have a tendency to be aggressive, while others believe they are ineffective and violate dog owners’ rights. Regardless of which side of the fence a dog owner sits on, the owner has a duty to comply with the animal control laws where the owner lives.

Here, we review the laws in different parts of Colorado. If you believe that you or a loved one suffered harm in a dog attack due to a dog owner’s failure to comply with local laws, including owning a legally banned pit bull or other breed, you should seek help from an experienced dog bite lawyer at The Sawaya Law Firm without delay. We can provide a timely and free consultation.

Which Colorado Cities Ban Pit Bulls?

Not every municipality in Colorado has banned pit bulls. The following chart shows which areas have bans and which specific breeds are included in the ban:

AuroraPit bulls
BroomfieldWolf-dog hybrid breeds
Commerce CityPit bulls
DenverPit bulls
Fort LuptonPit bulls
Lone TreeAmerican bulldogs, canary dogs, cane corsos, dogo argentinos, fila brasilairos pit bulls, presa mallorquins and tosa inus
LouisvillePit bulls and wolf-dog hybrid breeds

Denver had a ban on pit bulls that started in 1989, but it was overturned by voters in 2020.

Many people use the generic term, “pit bull,” to refer to a certain type of dog. However, several different breeds fall within the “pit bull” category, including:

  • American pit bull terriers
  • American Staffordshire terriers
  • Staffordshire bull terriers.

If a dog injures you in a public place or when you have a right to be on a property, then regardless of the breed, you may have a claim against the dog’s owner based on the owner’s negligence. If you are able to demonstrate that the dog’s owner was negligent, you can demand just compensation for your injuries.

In areas where pit bulls and other breeds of dogs are banned, and a banned breed of dog bites you, you may be able to use the violation of the ban as evidence of negligence. You could also prove negligence if the dog’s owner failed to secure the dog behind a fence, knowingly let the dog run free without a leash or otherwise failed to take adequate precautions to keep the dog from harming you, your child or someone else close to you.

What Does A Ban Mean?

A ban means that within the city limits where the ban is in effect, a dog exhibiting the traits of a pit bull may be impounded. When the dog is impounded, a government official may take the dog and put it in a shelter, where breed testing would be conducted to determine whether the dog is a banned breed. If so, the owner may take the dog to a location that does not have a ban on the particular breed of the dog.

In addition to the banned breeds outlined above, some other breeds may demonstrate traits that are similar to pit bulls such as boxers and mastiffs. Owners with these breeds of dogs may be required to submit their dogs for testing to prove the dog should not be categorized as a banned breed and does not need to be removed from the locale.

While the authorities may have the ability to impound a dog with pit bull traits, it may not happen unless the dog is running loose or attacks someone. This means that there are many people who choose to disregard the ban and still choose to keep pit bulls in their homes.

Do Bans Reduce Dog Bites?

Those who support breed-specific legislation (BSL) often do so because the large majority of dog bites are from either pit bull breeds or other similar breeds. By banning one of the main contributors to dog bites, supporters believe that dog bites overall will be reduced.

However, the evidence is not conclusive on whether breed-specific bans actually reduce dog bites. Statistics show that dog bites have generally increased in Colorado through the years, with the bites involving a wide variety of breeds.

Even though a ban may deter some people from owning pit bulls, it won’t stop everyone from keeping a banned dog in their home, and it won’t change the fact that a dog attack can change the life of a victim forever. The incidence of death is rare with dog bites, but these attacks can be fatal or cause catastrophic injury.

What To Do If A Dog Bites You?

If you have been bitten by a dog, regardless of the breed, it will be important to ensure that you receive proper medical care first before you do anything else. Your medical records will be of critical importance if you are seriously injured and decide to file a lawsuit seeking compensation based on the dog owner’s negligence.

Once your injuries have been treated, it is important to document the incident that led to the injury so that your recollection of the events is solid. You should contact a dog bite injury lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyer can investigate and preserve your potential claims. A lawyer who focuses on dog bite claims can also advise you of your rights and legal options.

The animal owner’s homeowners’ insurance policy typically will cover dog bite claims. So, even if you were bitten by a dog owned by a friend, neighbor or family member, you could still seek compensation without causing too much friction in the relationship. With an experienced attorney, you will be able to understand the options in your case and decide the best course of action.

Contact Our Colorado Dog Bite Lawyers Today

The Colorado dog bite attorneys of The Sawaya Law Firm are committed to helping those who have been bitten by pit bulls or other dogs through no fault of their own. We will work tirelessly on your behalf and pursue maximum compensation for you. Our goal will be to help you to rebuild your life and put the incident behind you as much as possible. Our consultations are always free, and we won’t charge you anything unless we secure compensation on your behalf. Contact us today to get started.


Michael established The Sawaya Law Firm in 1977 and built it into one of the largest personal injury law firms in Colorado, with more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members serving clients from five offices located in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs. Throughout its history, the firm has stayed true to its 12 Core Values, which emphasize excellence in advocacy and a commitment to providing outstanding client service. Michael studied sociology and economics as an undergraduate student at The Colorado College, and he earned his law degree from the Texas Tech University School of Law. In addition to being involved in several legal and community organizations, Michael enjoys playing music and cooking, and he has written a book on spiritual matters.