Maryland appeals court: all pit bulls dangerous

The Gazette (suburban Maryland) on a 4-3 Maryland Court of Appeals decision:

Animal shelters and rescue organizations across Maryland are bracing for an influx of surrendered pit bulls in the wake of a state high court ruling that declared the breed “inherently dangerous.”

The decision strengthened a 1998 ruling that landlords can be held liable for dog attacks.

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruling last week modified the state’s common law of liability, establishing a standard that when owners or landlords have knowledge a pit bull or pit-bull mix is living on their property, it is not necessary to prove they had knowledge the dog was dangerous to be held liable.

The Frederick News-Post:

As a result of the decision, the Frederick County Animal Control shelter has temporarily suspended adoptions of pit bulls and pit bull mixes, director Harold Domer said Tuesday.

Arin Greenwood writes at Huffington Post of her 14-year relationship with a “sweet, spoiled and beloved” family member “who perhaps never knew that she was a pit bull”. More: NBC Washington; opinion in Tracey v. Solesky (PDF).

More: Ron Miller’s view. And from Twitter, @radleybalko (“An opinion as useless as it is ignorant,”) @Popehat (“Mine wants to lick me to death,”) and @sbagen (“Breed bans lack scientific support, hurt persons with disabilities with service dogs.”)


  • And yet, the Tenth Circuit held that it likely violated equal protection to have an anti-pitbull ordinance, as I recall.

    Neither of these rulings makes sense to me. If localities want to legislatively ban pit bulls, that is not unconstitutional (regardless of whether it is overkill). But if they don’t, judges shouldn’t make up de facto common law prohibitions against them.

  • Walter, I analyzed this opinion here:

    As you will see from the comments, there are some strong opinions on both sides of this.