Reporting Adam May
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—The fate of pit bulls in Maryland could be decided Tuesday. New laws may be proposed, in reaction to a court ruling that expanded who’s liable in dog attacks.
Adam May reports animal shelters are bracing for the worst.
Bianca is up for adoption at the Maryland SPCA, but staff fears she could be there a long time.
A recent ruling by Maryland’s highest court makes landlords liable for pit bull attacks, calling pit bulls inherently dangerous.
It’s why Bianca is part of a new program: Project Pit Bull.
It was created “to keep our dogs happy while they’re here,” said Amie Glasgow, SPCA. “We were afraid we would see a negative affect on our dogs based on the ruling by the court of appeals.”
One harmful affect is dog depression from being homeless too long. So pit bulls like Bianca get extra training and attention.
“She has the power to decide if she touches this stick. She does, so she gets a treat,” Glasgow said.
Last week a panel of lawmakers heard from people for and against changing laws in reaction to court ruling–including the parents of a Towson boy who was mauled.
“I don’t want to see anyone lose their dog, but I almost lost my son that day, and that needs to be recognized loud and clear,” said Irene Solesky, victim’s mother.
But pit bull owners– who have protested outside the statehouse– call the court ruling dog discrimination.
Back at the SPCA, Geranimo is another dog in Project pit bull.
“He was going home. He had an awesome adopter and they went home, the landlord took one look at him and said, ‘No, I can’t have him in the house,’”‘ said Nichole Miller, SPCA. “Dog came back the same day.”
So the dog is back in the shelter–now waiting for someone else or a change in the law.
The panel may decide to require dog owners to carry insurance or expand the liability laws to all breeds– not just pit bulls. We’ll find out Tuesday.