Tracey v. Solesky
No. 53, September Term 2012, Opinion by Cathell, J. STRICT LIABILITY ADOPTED IN RESPECT TO ATTACKS ON HUMANS BY PIT BULL DOGS AND CROSS-BRED PIT BULL DOGS.
Upon a plaintiff’s sufficient proof that a dog involved in an attack is a pit bull or a pit bull cross, and that the owner, or other person(s) who has the right to control the pit bull’s presence on the subject premises (including a landlord who has a right to prohibit such dogs on leased premises) knows, or has reason to know, that the dog is a pit bull or cross-bred pit bull, that person is liable for the damages caused to a plaintiff who is attacked by the dog on or from the owner’s or lessor’s premises. In that case a plaintiff has established a prima facie case of negligence. When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous.
This is the 2012 Maryland legislation that caused landlords to evict pit bull owners and shelters to be flooded with pit bulls, leaving them with little hope of being adopted. On Thursday, April 3, 2013, the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill that effectively undoes this legislation. The new bill, HB 73 places the liability on dog owners, regardless of breed – as it should be. It is now awaiting the Governor’s approval to be signed into law.
Similarly, on March 5, 2014, HB 97 prohibiting breed discriminatory legislation in the state of Utah, passed and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. This two minute video demonstrates the widespread effect of this new law. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpM6Z2s_c6c
It is encouraging to see that we are making progress toward putting an end to breed discriminatory legislation in our country. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has worked so hard to bring about these positive changes. The effort of these individuals proves once again that together we can make a difference.
Hopefully now, other states and municipalities will take notice and move to promote responsible dog ownership and equality for all dogs regardless of breed or appearance.