Denver Mayor Michael Hancock on Friday afternoon released his first public statement on the ordinance to allow pit bulls within city limits, which was passed by Denver City Council earlier this week.
Hancock is currently weighing whether to sign the law into effect, a decision he is expected to make today, although he has until Sunday to do so.
In a video on Twitter, the mayor said his office has received over 900 emails and several hundred phone calls about the issue. He also said community members have been “blowing up” his social media and email accounts. A petition calling on him to veto a bill has raised more than 400 signatures over a three-day period.
“I just want to give you my perspective on why I don’t come to this decision very lightly,” he said, explaining how he witnessed in the late 1980s Denver face “repeated attacks” by pit bulls, some fatal, including the death of a 2-year-old boy.
But since then, he said, “a lot has changed. A lot more information is being made available in terms of the temperament and the attitude of pit bulls, as well as the general conversation around breed-specific bans.”
Hancock said he’s been taking the time this week to “pore over all of that material” to ensure his decision is “thoughtful and informed,” and stressed that arguments on both sides of the issue are valid.
“My number one responsibility, and I swore an oath, is to protect the safety and well-being of the people of Denver,” he said.
Before signing off, Hancock also took time to thank Councilman Chris Herndon, who led the proposal, for handling the issue correctly.
“He did communicate with us. He did work with us for many months,” he said. “So, this is not about Councilman Chris Herndon. [He’s] a dear friend and someone I think very highly of as one of our great, thoughtful leaders in the City of Denver.”