As most know by now, Denver and Aurora, Colorado had banned so-called “pit bulls” well before a lawsuit was filed alleging an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violation. Yes, that’s right. These cities even cold-heartedly banned “pit bulls” for the differently-abled. Hence the lawsuit. However, both Denver and Aurora had to make concessions to the ADA after a 2011 federal ruling.
Even after all that, both Aurora and Denver still required “pit bull” service dogs to be treated differently than service dogs of other actual breeds by requiring “pit bulls” to adhere to additional restrictions. Sounds like segregation doesn’t it? Separate but equal. Yes, well, we know Denver and Aurora separate “pit bulls” out from other “breeds,” and just like segregation, they are anything but equal.
Because of this ongoing inexplicable discrimination, lawsuits were again filed that claimed Denver and Aurora were still violating the ADA by putting “illegal restrictions on pit bulls as service dogs.” But last month, U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Krieger ruled “that Aurora and Denver had done enough to allow the pit bulls as service dogs” and threw out the lawsuits.
Jay Swearingen, attorney for the plaintiffs (who intend to appeal), argued that,
“It’s the fact that their dog is treated differently…than if it were a golden retriever,” Swearingen said. “They run into more issues than the average person with a non-pit-bull service dog.”
Mr. Swearingen mentions Golden Retrievers most likely because he knows Golden Retrievers score comparably with so-called “pit bulls” on their temperament tests (ATTS.org). Mr. Swearingen also brings up another very astute point that the very reason the ADA exists in the first place is to give the differently-abled more equality. Still, here Denver and Aurora are hassling them and discriminating against their dogs!
So, it sounds like Judge Krieger isn’t saying Aurora and Denver aren’t discriminating. It sounds like she’s saying that Denver and Aurora are discriminating against the handicapped in Denver and Aurora less than they are discriminating against the able-bodied who have to abide by an outright ban. So that’s how the courts are defining “justice” these days, as a little less unjust? And then they have the audacity to wonder how we can lose faith in the justice system? Well what do you call that but ill-logic from a kangaroo court?
Yet still, Denver’s assistant city attorney Kory Nelson has bragged online to anyone that will listen that Denver’s “pit bull” ban has supposedly been upheld as legal and Constitutional. For example, Nelson recently boasted to the San Francisco Chronicle that,
“Since 1989, when that city instituted a pit bull ban, ‘we havent had one serious pit bull attack,’ said Kory Nelson, a Denver assistant city attorney. His citys assertion that ˜pit bulls are more dangerous than other breeds of dog has withstood legal challenges, he said.
˜We were able to prove theres a difference between pit bulls and other breeds of dogs that make pit bulls more dangerous, Nelson said.
While claiming that Denver hasnt had one serious pit bull attack since the ban passed, Nelson conveniently leaves out the part about how if they kill all the dogs they erroneously call pit bulls, there will hardly be any dogs left, period.
Former Lucas County, Ohio Dog Warden Tom Skeldon used to make the same claim about Toledos pit bull ban until it was revealed in a Toledo news article that 54% of the dogs Skeldon had killed were dogs he called pit bulls. Yet court testimony determined that,
[Skeldon] acknowledged that even if a dog was 50 per cent pit bull, if it did not ˜look like a pit bull, the owner would not be charged. On the other hand, if a dog did look like a pit bull, it would be classified as a pit bull and the owner would be subject to the ˜vicious dog laws. No definitive description of a ˜pit bull was presented. The warden also acknowledged that there is really no way to tell if a dog is or is not a ˜pit bull and the determination is made by his or a deputys subjective judgment. [Emphasis mine.]
In other words, Skeldon and other ACOs were just arbitrarily killing dogs, and lots of them. Like Kory Nelson, Skeldon also used to say that Toledos BSL was upheld in court, but Skeldon omitted the fact that there were public accusations of evidence tampering during the trial.
As the above court testimony shows, Skeldon was unable to discern what was and was not a pit bull as defined by Toledos own ordinance. Likewise, Mr. Nelson conveniently leaves out several instances where Denvers ban didnt hold up in court for the same reason. For example, in the 2004 case of Margolius v. The City of Denver, it was shown that Mr. Margolius due process rights were violated when Denvers own Animal Control Officers could not discern what was and was not a pit bull as defined by their own ordinance.
Denver violated dog owners due process rights again when the Denver Daily News reported that in January 2011 (and in 2009) Denvers Animal Control officers could not tell the difference between a Boxer mix and what Denvers ordinance defined as a pit bull. And yet Kory Nelson, et al, claim that Denvers pit bull ban has been successful? Really? Well, I guess one man’s “success” is another man’s pile of innocent dead dogs. (See below.)
Why the courts continue to uphold Denver’s obviously flawed, unconstitutional, and provably unjust breed ban is a mystery — ADA or no ADA — but I wouldnt be a bit surprised if the courts ruling on Denvers breed ban didnt share something in common with Ohios kangaroo court, the findings of which resulted in a public outcry of evidence tampering.
Clearly someone in Denver wants this “pit bull” ban and wants it bad. They want it so bad, they don’t care if it’s unconstitutional. They don’t care how many innocent dead dogs they have to pile up. Heck, they don’t even care how many disabled people they have to trample.
[Photo source: The Huffington Post]