Jul 28, 2014
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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 attacks by the breed.

Are Pit Bulls Dangerous by Nature? Court Says Yes Are Pit Bulls Dangerous by Nature? Court Says Yes

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. 

"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.

In June 2011, Severna Park resident Charles McConnell Jr. . McConnell reported that the dog was aggressively barking and growling at him. 

According to police, during the incident, McConnell pulled out a handgun and shot the animal once. Consequently, the animal ran away and later died from its injuries. According to the police report, McConnell was arrested and charged with discharging a firearm in a residential area and animal cruelty. However, online court records state McConnell was found not guilty in November 2011.

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.

Severna Park Patch Editor Leslie Hunt contributed to this story.

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.

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