SW Legal studies in Business

City May Ban Dangerous Dog Breeds

Federal court held that a city could prohibit the ownership of certain breeds of dogs in the city. There was a rational basis for the regulation, so it does not violate constitutional rights.

Topic Constitutional Law
Key Words

Police Power; City Ordinance; Dog Control

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

The City of Aurora, Colorado, enacted an ordinance that certain breeds of dogs, including pit bulls, are banned from the city. The ordinance was challenged by the American Canine Foundation, an organization promoting responsible dog ownership. The ordinance was claimed to infringe on fundamental constitutional rights by violating the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiffs argued that the ordinance involved an uncompensated taking and violated due process and equal protection.


Ordinance upheld. The ownership of a dog does not implicate any fundamental constitutional right. Dogs are qualified property subject to the proper exercise of police power for the protection of the public’s health, safety, and welfare. Such a regulation must bear a rational relationship to a legitimate legislative goal. The city presented evidence that the banned breeds were more dangerous than other dogs, involved in attacks, and were costly to control. Since there was a rational basis for the regulation, it does not violate due process or the Equal Protection Clause.


American Canine Foundation v. City of Aurora, Colorado, ---F.Supp.2d--- (2009 WL 1370893, D. Colo., 2009)

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