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Are Pit Bulls Dangerous by Nature? Court Says Yes

The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that owners of pit bulls are liable for damages caused by their attacks.

If your pit bull attacks someone, don't expect much sympathy in court. An opinion recently released by the Maryland Court of Appeals states that you should have already known the breed was dangerous.

Maryland owners are now facing increased liability in attack cases, following a ruling in Tracey v. Solesky. The case involved a pit bull named Clifford that attacked a minor, causing life-threatening injuries. 

Pit bulls have been banned in Prince George’s County since 1996, although exceptions are allowed for those owning a dog of the breed prior to the ban.

"When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous," wrote Judge Dale R. Cathell in the opinion.

Cathell also stated that landlords have the right to prohibit pit bulls or pit bull cross-breeds from their property.

A PDF of the opinion is attached in the media gallery.

The opinion cited a series of cases involving vicious attacks by pit bulls, as well as expert evaluations and national statistics, according to a WBAL TV News report

Aileen Gabbey, executive director of the Maryland SPCA, claimed the ruling could lead to fewer adoptions of pit bulls, ABC 2 News reported.

Is it fair for the court to designate pit bulls as inherently dangerous? How accountable should dog owners be held in attack cases? Tell us in the comments.

Kevin W. Clark June 01, 2012 at 01:34 AM
it's not a case of other breeds killing....sure, they do. It's that PBs do 80%+ of the killing, ffs.
Adrianne June 01, 2012 at 01:56 PM
@ Kevin Clark: Calling people "freaks" and "retards" seriously undermines your statements. Problems are...one...media accounts often mis-identify dogs. Often. Two...the basis for this "data" you are quoting, the CDC/HSUS/AVMA study from 2000, been recanted...read this directly from the American Veterinary Medical Association..."In contrast to what has been reported in the news rnedia, the data contained in this report CANNOT be used to infer any breed-specific risk for dog bite fatalities (e.g., neither pit bull-type dogs nor Rottweilers can be said to be more "dangerous" than any othet breed based on the contents of this report)." You are peddling hysteria and misinformation and doing nothing productive to improve public safety. The data you are refusing to consider fly in the face of your beliefs. You are entitled to your beliefs, but they are not facts.
Kevin W. Clark June 04, 2012 at 03:21 PM
I don't care what a veterinary web site says, if you go to the http://www.dogsbite.org site, you get a CASE by CASE with synopsis, with LINKED news stories (sometimes multiple stories), so...at the end, the facts are supported there by HUNDREDS of different media organizations. Ask yourself, is it more likely that AVMA (whose data I am NOT quoting) is full of BS, or is it more likely that hundreds of different media organizations are in cahoots, participating in a secret media-cabal to single out this one breed to make it look bad? Occam would be rolling over in his grave should anyone choose the latter. If you believe that, you are deserving of any mockery you receive. I would take a similar stand if you were to tell me that all those PB attacks are faked by space aliens.
Maryland Dog Federation June 04, 2012 at 08:23 PM
We understand. You don't want facts to get in the way of your opinion. If you are really interested in how it all works, I suggest you read the book Pit Bull Placebo. The only people I am "mocked by" are name callers and folks who prefer to maintain their opinions, to which they are entitled. The dogsbite website is not based in science, though it does fool a lot of of folks.
Emily Easton July 08, 2012 at 10:08 PM
To everyone who says that pit bull- type dogs are the only ones that attack, please read the following links: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2073504/Girl-13-savaged-German-shepherd-puppy-tore-chunk-nose-left-needing-50-stitches.html http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/2846739.stm http://www.9news.com/news/story.aspx?storyid=65161 http://www.shortnews.com/start.cfm?id=46922 http://www.wboc.com/global/story.asp?S=10769319 http://www.northjersey.com/news/021611_Shar-Pei_implicated_in_fatal_dog_attack_in_Tenafly_is_decalred_potentially_dangerous.html http://www.minbcnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=655771#.T_oDS3DRdok Each of these links includes a story about a serious "dog attack", none of them involving pit bull- type dogs. Included are a German Shepard, a Dalmation, two Labrador Retreivers, a poodle, and a shar- pei. All of these stories were reported by credible news agencies, worldwide. Any type of dog is capable of attacking or biting a person. It is up to us as dog owners to take responsibility of our own dogs. It is irresponsible and negligent to place the blame on ANY one breed of dog, pit bull or not. The state of Maryland needs an all- encompassing, comprehensive law protecting all dog bite victims and holding ALL dog owners responsible for their animals.

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