Getting a Pit Bull Permit in Denver, COGetting a Pit Bull Permit in Denver, CO


Hello! My name is Skyler and I own Redemption Dog Training. If you just want to know how to get a permit as of February 2022, skip to the details section.

When my husband got a job in Denver in 2018, we made a decision to pick a house in a suburb that didn’t have breed specific legislation or BSL.

There’s a special place in my heart for block headed bully breeds, and there was no way I could imagine not having the option of adopting another one.

So, we moved to Englewood, and in the summer of 2019 we got a puppy.

I wasn’t 100% on what kind of dog he was, but I was pretty sure he was at least part American Pit Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier.

As he started to grow, I realized he was definitely displaying the physical characteristics of a “pit bull” and started to do my research on Denver’s ban. It’s based on a visual identification and could only be appealed with a DNA test that proves the dog is less than 50% of the banned breeds.

I got him DNA tested. He came back 89% American Staffordshire Terrier.

So, we stayed away. I only took him to parks I was sure he was welcome and I made sure he was fully socialized and well behaved.

Fast forward to 2020, Denver was looking at replacing their ban with a permit system. I was pretty excited, it wasn’t a full repeal but it was a start. I watched all the council meetings and was crushed when Denver’s Mayor Hancock overrode the vote using the same reasoning that had enacted it 30 years ago.

I realized despite all the evidence to the contrary, pit bulls were still untrustworthy to a lot of people. Thankfully, the people of Denver voted to replace the ban and give the dogs that looked a specific way a chance at redemption.

The Details

After going on several wild goose chases about how to schedule the evaluation, I found that the Denver Animal Shelter has walk-in breed evaluations between 1 and 3.

So, for Valentines Day this year, I decided to get D’artagnon his permit.

We loaded up in the car and headed into Denver. The shelter has a small sign that says, “for all other business use lost and found.” So we walked in through lost and found and asked for a permit.

We were asked to take a seat. Not too long after, 3 people came out to do his inspection. I answered some questions and they each did a visual inspection of D.

They walked away and 2 minutes later I had my answer, D was considered a pit bull. We were offered a restricted breed permit for a year.

I was so confused as I walked out, paperwork in hand, dog legal. They barely interacted with him. I hadn’t realized this was literally just a visual identification of his “breed”.

They email you before it comes due so you can renew it again, you don’t have to bring your dog back to renew.

I’m so glad I can take D’artagnon into Denver without being scared. While I could go into all of the problems with visual identifications, that’ll be a future post.

If you live in Denver City or County and have a pit bull type dog, please get them permitted. The more dogs that get permits, the more data that can be collected, and the more likely permits will no longer be needed.