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Bill to prohibit BSL in Maryland!

Posted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 7:35 pm
by heather
HB 422 would prohibit breed specific legislation in Maryland! ... -maryland/

Re: Bill to prohibit BSL in Maryland!

Posted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 2:57 pm
by heather
Two alerts for Maryland residents:

HB 73 would effectively repeal the 2012 Maryland Court of Appeals ruling. The bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee: ... -on-12314/

HB 422 would prohibit breed specific ordinances in Maryland. A hearing is set for Feb. 20 in the House Judiciary Committee. ... -maryland/

Legislature trying again to unlabel 'inherently dangerous' pit bulls

Monday, February 3, 2014 2:00 am

Two years have passed since an unfortunate ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals designating pit bulls as “inherently dangerous” sent tremors through the community of pit-bull owners.

Not only did that ruling — the result of an opinion in the Tracey v. Solesky case, in which a 10-year-old boy was badly injured in an attack — characterize pits unfairly as ticking time bombs, it made the state’s landlords as liable as owners for damages should a renter’s dog attack anyone on their premises.

“When an attack involves pit bulls,” reads the 2012 opinion by Judge Dale R. Cathell, “it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous.”

This new aspect of the law failed to account for what makes a dog breed — any breed — dangerous in the first place: That’s the owner’s responsibility, either through irresponsible neglect, mistreatment or intentional training.

As we discussed in a May 2012 editorial, targeting a specific breed for regulation is narrow-minded and out of all proportion to the severity of the problem.

“We have so many pits here and there are obviously good and bad dogs, just like any breed,” Ali Newman, of the Anne Arundel County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told The (Annapolis) Capital. “But for the most part, they’re very lovable dogs.”

The appeals court opinion was an unbelievably shortsighted, broad-brush ruling that seemed to rely on a popular myth about the pit bull breed rather than sound science or a factual analysis. Ramifications quickly followed as landlords handed down ultimatums to their lessees: Lose the dogs or lose your homes.

Animal shelters felt the strain as they began to fill up with dogs whose owners were forced to give them up. The Humane Society estimates that about 70,000 Marylanders have pit bull-type dogs.

Pit-bull proponents scrambled unsuccessfully in the last session to have the Maryland General Assembly pass legislation to overturn the ruling. A bill passed the Senate but was hung up at the last minute in the House.

Proponents are getting a second shot with a bill filed by Delegate Luis Simmons and Sen. Brian Frosh, both Montgomery County Democrats. The legislation creates a “rebuttable presumption” in all dog-bite cases for all breeds. The presumption is that an owner knew or should have known his or her dog was dangerous. The owner can then rebut this assertion with testimony or evidence to the contrary. A jury, not a summary judgment of the judge, would decide whether or not the owner was aware of the danger.

It was a bill similar to this one that failed to pass the Legislature last year. Once again, it seems the bill is more likely to pass the Senate than the House. It’s a shame. We’re not sure what the reluctance is from House lawmakers to correct such an ill-thought-out precedent handed down from the Court of Appeals.

Had the appeals court created a tax loophole for dog owners, you can bet a majority of the state house would have patched that hole the day after the ruling. The brains in Annapolis should be able to come up with a fix. ... 0bd00.html

Re: Bill to prohibit BSL in Maryland!

Posted: Tue Feb 04, 2014 10:21 am
by heather
SB 247 is cross-filed with HB 73, and would reverse the 2012 Maryland Court of Appeals ruling. A hearing is scheduled on Feb. 6 in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. ... ring-2614/

Re: Bill to prohibit BSL in Maryland!

Posted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 10:38 am
by heather ... ll-senate/

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Re: Bill to prohibit BSL in Maryland!

Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 7:49 pm
by heather
Maryland Senate passes pit bull bill

Annapolis, MD - 2/28/2014

The Maryland Senate unanimously passed legislation today that will remedy a 2012 Court of Appeals ruling that deemed "pit bulls" to be "inherently dangerous."

S.B. 247 represents a middle ground between positions taken by the House and the Senate. The bill removes the breed specific standard and instead raises the bar for all dog owners, regardless of the breed of their dog, though Senators adopted an amendment establishing strict liability if the dog was running at large. Similar legislation (H.B. 73, introduced by Del. Luiz Simmons, D-17) is awaiting action by the House of Delegates.

"Marylanders have waited nearly two years for lawmakers to address the misguided policy established by the court's decision," said Tami Santelli, Maryland senior state director for The Humane Society of the United States. "We commend the Senate for approving this compromise legislation that is fair to both dog owners and dog bite victims, and we expect the House to show strong leadership and join the Senate in moving this critical legislation forward."

Since April of 2012, landlords, condominium associations and homeowner's associations have considered changing their policies toward pit bull-type dogs. Some have published policies refusing to give tenancy to owners of pit bull dogs, forcing families to relocate or find a new home for their beloved pets.

Singling out a particular breed or type of dog has repeatedly been proven to be ineffective at curbing dog bites because breed alone is not predictive of whether a dog may pose a danger. A dog's propensity to bite is a product of several factors primarily under the owner's control, including early socialization, whether the dog is spayed or neutered and whether the dog is isolated or chained.

More information can be found at


S.B 247, introduced by Sen. Brian Frosh (D-16) would reverse the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling and set reasonable standards for dog owners and victims in dog bite cases.

The Court of Appeals ruling holds dog owners-and landlords, boarders, groomers, veterinarians and other third parties-strictly liable for any injuries caused by the dog. This ruling was a massive departure from existing Maryland law, unprecedented across the country and forced many Maryland dog owners to choose between their pets and their homes.

This legislation marks the third attempt of the General Assembly to address the unintended consequences of the ruling, after the Senate and the House of Delegates have twice reached a stalemate regarding the appropriate standard of liability in dog bite cases.

S.B. 247 passed by a 45-0 vote after intense debate on Wednesday over an amendment striking the compromise language of the bill and replacing it with language establishing strict liability for dog owners. That amendment was defeated. ... y_ID/35726