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This is now the established law in Maryland.

In Tracey v. Solesky, the Maryland Court of Appeals stated:

"...We ... establish in this case, and prospectively, a strict liability standard in respect to the owning, harboring or control of pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls...

We are modifying the Maryland common law of liability as it relates to attacks by pit bull and cross-bred pit bull dogs against humans. With the standard we establish today (which is to be applied in this case on remand), when an owner or a landlord is proven to have knowledge of the presence of a pit bull or cross-bred pit bull (as both the owner and landlord did in this case) or should have had such knowledge, a prima facie case is established. It is not necessary that the landlord (or the pit bull’s owner) have actual knowledge that the specific pit bull involved is dangerous. Because of its aggressive and vicious nature and its capability to inflict serious and sometimes fatal injuries, pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls are inherently dangerous...

We hold that upon a plaintiff's sufficient proof that a dog involved in an attack is a pit bull or a pit bull mix, 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 the right and/or opportunity to prohibit such dogs on leased premises as in this case) knows, or has reason to know, that the dog is a pit bull or cross-bred pit bull mix, that person is strictly liable for the damages caused to a plaintiff who is attacked by the dog on or from the owner's or lessor's premises. This holding is prospective and applies to this case and causes of action accruing after the date of the filing of this opinion. Upon remand to the trial court, it shall apply in this case the modifications to the common law herein created...."

The entire 42-page opinion can be read here: Tracey v. Solesky
 

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Because of its aggressive and vicious nature and its capability to inflict serious and sometimes fatal injuries, pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls are inherently dangerous...
This line in particular makes me kinda sick.
 

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Wow. Vicious nature????? The nature of a pit is to be vicious???? Who makes this stuff up? "its capability to inflict serious and sometimes fatal injuries" Um, isn't that ALL dogs? And knives and cars and ropes and pretty much ANYthing you want to use to inflict harm on another person? Are you going to outlaw pillows so you don't suffocate your snoring husband?

Really this is so so sad. I thought we were past that.
 

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I wonder how much this is actually going to be enforced. Right now a number of counties in Maryland have BSL for pit bulls but from talking to some of my co-workers (I work in MD live in VA) they really don't enforce it in the majority of areas. I'm guessing it'll mostly result in even more of a bias against pit bulls in the event something bad happens with full blame falling on the pit no matter what the actually story of the event is.
 

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I'm guessing it'll mostly result in even more of a bias against pit bulls in the event something bad happens with full blame falling on the pit no matter what the actually story of the event is.
That's basically how strict liability works. There's nothing here to be "enforced" so much...it's just that this court case creates a presumption that the damage/harm is the pit bull/owner's fault, regardless of whether the owner was negligent or otherwise at fault. In other words, if someone is bitten by one of these so-called pit bulls or pit crosses and decides to sue, they'll only have to prove that the dog was a pit bull or cross and that the dog bit them and that's all. They won't have to prove any of the other elements that normally go into a dog bite case.
 

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Wow... people make the dog vicious. They should create a "dog compatibility test" or something so that people planning to get a Pitt can take it and prove their worth of owning the dog - not just banning the dog because the dog has "a vicious" nature! These people should join the birth of a litter of Pitt Bulls and see how "vicious" they really are. No dog comes out of his mother with aggression! :/
 

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To be clear, they did NOT "ban" pit bulls. They just made it the equivalent of having an invisible deadly hazard on your property, or walking around with a stick of dynamite. I agree it's bad, but it's not the same thing.
 

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To be clear, they did NOT "ban" pit bulls. They just made it the equivalent of having an invisible deadly hazard on your property, or walking around with a stick of dynamite. I agree it's bad, but it's not the same thing.
True, this is not a pit ban. (This just says that you accept liability for harboring a dangerous animal.) But this is a legal declaration that pits are inherently vicious. That in itself could be used by others to limit pit bull access to places. I could imagine buildings that allow dogs saying that they don't allow pits b/c of the inherent liability. This is a set up. It's an out for ppl who want to ban pits.
 

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I also just found out recently that the Loudoun County, VA animal shelter does not adopt pit bulls to the public. Apparently this is very common...
 

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True, this is not a pit ban. (This just says that you accept liability for harboring a dangerous animal.) But this is a legal declaration that pits are inherently vicious. That in itself could be used by others to limit pit bull access to places. I could imagine buildings that allow dogs saying that they don't allow pits b/c of the inherent liability. This is a set up. It's an out for ppl who want to ban pits.
That's exactly what it is- a de facto ban on pit bulls and pit bull crosses, which is even worse. How would you know? DNA tests on mixed breeds are inherently unreliable, so how are we determining what's a pit bull cross and what isn't? Are Kabota's high cheek bones evidence of a pit bull in his background?

Disgusting.
 

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Yes....my pitbull is SO dangerous....you can get a pretty mean licking from her if you get to close. That tongue of hers! phew!! I agree that a compatibility test should be done as well. In my perfect world you would have to possess a license to own a dog, not a registration, but a general knowledge and agreement to properly co-exist with the dog. My neighbors have two cocker spaniels that have bit more kids in one summer than my dogs have ever dreamed of doing! It infuriates me when they categorize ANY breed of dog.
 

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That's exactly what it is- a de facto ban on pit bulls and pit bull crosses, which is even worse. How would you know? DNA tests on mixed breeds are inherently unreliable, so how are we determining what's a pit bull cross and what isn't? Are Kabota's high cheek bones evidence of a pit bull in his background?

Disgusting.
Yep, de facto ban. The liability is just too high. Already it can be difficult to rent with a pit or other "dangerous" breed due to insurance, but with a ruling like this, even homeowners would find it nearly impossible to carry liability insurance anymore. (I would expect that their only option would be a high priced supplmental policy).

(I am commenting only off the quoted section and have not read the full case....)
We hold that upon a plaintiff's sufficient proof that a dog involved in an attack is a pit bull or a pit bull mix, 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 the right and/or opportunity to prohibit such dogs on leased premises as in this case) knows, or has reason to know, that the dog is a pit bull or cross-bred pit bull mix, that person is strictly liable for the damages caused to a plaintiff who is attacked by the dog on or from the owner's or lessor's premises.
Leaving aside for the moment the fact that pit bulls are not inherently vicious or dangerous to humans, this ruling has sooo many issues.

First is the "reason to know" the dog is a PB or PB mix-- I have personally met a dog that looked 100% like a purebred Australian Shepherd. I would have bet $100 the dog was an AS or at most, a mix of Aussie and another long coated herding breed. Nope, the dog's mom was a Pit. So the question is, where is the line drawing for "reason to know" a dog like my example is a PB mix?

It also creates an "out" for landlords to discriminate in ways that would otherwise be illegal under federal fair housing laws. For example, landlord doesn't want to rent to (fill-in-the-blank) type of person so all of the sudden, their dog is a pit mix.

Another problem point is basically one of self-defense: here in my city by statute, there is a presumption of innocence if a dog attacks someone on my property who is commiting a crime greater than simple trespass (as in, breaking and entering etc) or off my property who is threatening my life or the dog's life. So if I got jumped in the park by a mugger and my dog bites the mugger, the dog is NOT a dangerous dog. Now, that is a law relating to the dangerous dog laws as opposed to civil liability, but having a law like my city's does help one's case should something happen. This law is basically saying the opposite for any PB/mix.... you have a pit, someone breaks into your house and tries to rape you, dog bites them and YOU are liable!

Will this ruling apply to trained law enforcment dogs I wonder?
 

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This is so deeply ignorant of actual dog behavior, I don't know where to begin. This line makes me furious: "It is not necessary that the landlord (or the pit bull’s owner) have actual knowledge that the specific pit bull involved is dangerous...pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls are inherently dangerous." Meaning, in the case of pits, guilty until proven innocent.

The fact of the matter is that all dogs are capable of being dangerous in the wrong hands, or in the wrong situation. But instead of looking at how we manage dogs and are responsible for them, ignorant people want to scapegoat pit bulls, so they can pretend that the problem isn't human error, it's the Evil Gene.

I'd like to see the science that was used in this case, and the expert testimony.
 

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It's also odd that by extension, other dogs are NOT inherently dangerous. They are somehow "safe." Uh, they all have teeth! I don't want to get bitten by a beagle or chihuahua or poodle or anything. So a toy poodle is a "safe" dog? Even if it bites? So most ppl wouldn't mind being bitten by a poodle? Because it's small? I don't think so. I mean they don't say that but that is the implication. I'd rather be licked by a pit than chewed on by a pom. The whole thing is so obvious, I can't believe they are getting away with this.
 

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It baffles me that so many people think this way. :( And saddening for the many completely friendly pit bulls I've had the pleasure of meeting.
At the shelter I used to volunteer at, the aggressive dogs that bit were always the poorly socialized ones and there was never any correlation in breed. If anything, it was toy breeds more than anything because so many neglectful owners would assume their little dogs didn't need socialization.

It's so sad.
 
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