Need a pit bull license? Hurry, Denver Animal Protection provides them for free.

The breed-restricted permit fee is about $75, not including microchips and vaccines.

Courtesy of Denver Animal Shelter

September 27, 2022, 11:41 a.m.

You still haven’t registered your pit bull with the City? Well, now is the time because Denver Animal Protection is providing free breed-restricted permits for “a limited time.”

In January 2021, voters reversed the city’s decades-old ban on pit bulls by creating an additional licensing system (all dogs and cats must be licensed by the city). Owners are required to bring their dog to a Denver animal shelter so the furry friend can undergo an assessment to receive a permit.

The law applies to the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and Staffordshire Bull Terrier and states that to own one, residents of Denver need a license.

But DAP compliance coordinator Derek Scott has previously said misinformation and misunderstanding combined with the length of the process and the fees are causing problems with the permitting process.

The pit permit process begins with a visual assessment that determines whether or not the dog is primarily pit. It costs $25.

Denver Animal Protection declared Walter a lab mix, so he is now a legal resident of the city.  He lives in Highland with his parents.  August 11, 2020.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Three staff members complete the assessment using a checklist examining the dog’s body structure. Scott said all three staff members must unanimously agree that the dog is a pit. If they cannot reach an agreement, a mining permit is not necessary.

If they agree, owners will get a regular Denver pet license, which costs $15, and the breed-restricted license, which costs an additional $30. In addition to these fees, once the assessment and pit determination is complete, owners are required to have their pet microchipped, vaccinated, and neutered.

Microchips can cost between $20 and $100, and sterilization can cost a few hundred dollars. Vaccines can cost $20 to $40.

“Fees aren’t everything…but I think one of the biggest hurdles is knowing there’s a cost associated with the permit,” Scott previously said. “Just knowing that there is a fee associated with the permit can be a reason people don’t come. People can have everything they need to get their dog licensed, but the cost of living in Denver is expensive. If this is my last $70 (and it) is either going to feed my family or allow my dog, I’m probably going to feed my family.

Hershey, a mix of Labrador Retriever and American Pit Bull Terrier, is up for adoption.
Courtesy of Denver Animal Shelter

In a press release, DAP said it hoped the free permits would encourage more people to get their pits licensed. People can stop by the shelter between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. daily. DAP added that they also provide financial assistance for microchips and vaccines on a case-by-case basis.

Overall, permits are good for three years. If violations occur, such as off-leash tickets or biting (which apply to all pets in Denver), the three-year term will resume. If not, your pit no longer needs a breed-restricted license, just the regular pet license, which costs $15 for the year or $40 for three years. .

In July, the national nonprofit organization Petco Love awarded DAP a $10,000 grant to help promote permits and help owners pay fees. Free permits will be offered until the grant is exhausted.

According to the statement, 441 dogs have received permits since the law came into effect in 2021.

Since the licensing program began, over 167 pit bulls have been adopted. There are currently around six mixed pitties up for adoption, including big-eared Apollo and milk chocolate Hershey. Head to the shelter to check them out and the free permits.

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