Denver banned pitbulls in 1989 and not too much has been heard about the ban since it’s legality was upheld in 2004, except of course for those who still fight against this prejudice. Now Denver and it’s breed ban is back in the spotlight over a dog that sits on death row awaiting his fate.

Forrest, a dog deemed a pitbull breed based on his appearance only, was found wandering the streets of Denver, for the second time in three months. Since then he has been incarcerated in the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter.

First a little background on the Forrest’s ‘escapes’;

First offense: Forrest was stolen and eventually picked up by Denver Animal Control after Chris McGahey had moved out of Denver and relocated in nearby Adams County. Chris got off with a warning when he was finally able to prove he and Forrest were not living in Denver.

Second offense: And then one day, the worst happened. Chris was preparing to move to Fort Collins (a 1.5 hour drive away from Denver) when Forrest somehow got out of his yard.

As you can see, Chris McGahey is not what you would call your typical irresponsible owner just letting his dog run at large. Chris has been faithfully visiting Forrest at the shelter every day, bringing him stew to eat and comforting and caring for him.

“I’m Forrest McGahey’s father,” McGahey said. “That’s my son. I’m going to do everything I can to save him.”

Forrest is not a vicious, mean or dangerous dog. Even Doug Kelley, the city’s director of the shelter, say that Forrest is a sweet and docile dog. But a docile demeanor doesn’t really matter under the city’s law, which calls for euthanization after a second offense except in extreme cases.

Initially McGahey was going to use DNA in hopes to prove that Forrest was not really a pitbull after three experts testified that he exhibited pitbull characteristics. That plan was scrapped because Denver doesn’t really care if a dog is really a pitbull or not, all they care is if a dog ‘looks’ like a pitbull according to their experts. It’s based on physical characteristics only, not genetic makeup.

And now breed ban opponents and enthusiasts are back at it again;

Now, supporters have sent more than 200 e-mails to the city’s animal-control division in support of Forrest. One woman from Florida mailed a dozen roses to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper pleading for the mayor to spare Forrest’s life. Some of the missives have come from as far away as Belgium, Romania and Portugal.

All of which has incensed some supporters of the ban. They point out that a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found pit bulls were responsible for a higher percentage of fatal dog bites than other breeds.

Hearing officer Ann Cisneros heard testimony last week but has yet to rule on whether Forrest is actually a pit bull. If she sides with the city of Denver, shelter director, Doug Kelley then will have to decide whether or not to euthanize Forrest or give McGahey one more chance to keep the dog away from the city.

Chris had already planned to move from Adams County, where he live. He has not lived in the city of Denver since he got Forrest. He also says that if he loses this hearing, he will appeal.

“I’ll take it all the way to the Supreme Court,” he says. “That’s my son.”

Does Forrest deserve to lose his life just because he looks like, or even may be a specific breed of dog?? Of course not!!

Are you asking if and how you can help?? Well you can!!

Contact those officials involved including the mayor. Ask them to spare Forrest’s life. Tell them that BSL is not only unfair, it kills innocents based on nothing more than appearance. We all have dogs that look like pit bulls or know dogs that look like pit bulls. They are not the monster dogs you fear and justify killing.

Contact Information

Mayor John W. Hickenlooper
Phone: 720-913-1311
Fax: 720.865.8787
City and County Building
1437 Bannock Street, Suite 350
Denver, CO 80202

Director of Animal Control Doug Kelly

Manager of the City’s Environmental Health Dept. Nancy Severson (Doug Kelly’s supervisor)

Councilman Michael Hancock – President
4760 Oakland St., Suite 175
Denver, CO 80239 Phone: 303 331 3872
Fax: 303 331 3874

Contact them daily! Tell them to release Forrest! Don’t let him become another martyr to these cruel and unfair laws!!

And last but not least, Sign the PETITION!!!

Denver Post

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