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New Task Force Meets To Discuss Pit Bull Ruling

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Dog lovers looking for a quick resolution to the court ruling that labels pit bulls inherently dangerous may have to wait longer than they hoped.

Political reporter Pat Warren reports the task force assigned to craft new legislation held its first work session Tuesday.

Maryland’s highest court ruled pit bulls are inherently dangerous and the Smeak family felt the fallout.

“My apartment complex, they’re just trying to protect themselves, which I understand. They told us there was nothing we could do,” said Phillip Smeak.

The Smeaks’ Baltimore County apartment complex is among the landlords who could be liable for an animal they now, under law, know is inherently dangerous–no matter how gentle it seems.

“Obviously, it’s just a blanket law because people see pit bulls in lights, like `If it bleeds, it leads’ type thing, where if there’s an attack, it’s a pit bull,” said Smeak.

The pit bull mauling in Baltimore County that nearly killed Dominic Solesky brought the liability question before the court and now to the General Assembly.

“I don’t want to see anybody lose their dog but I almost lost my son that day and that’s something that needs to be recognized loud and clear,” said Irene Solesky.

The work group assigned to draft legislation wants to take the bite out of the breed-specific ruling and apply a law that holds all owners and landlords of all breeds to the same level of liability.

“Since we’re going to go into and overhaul the system, we’ve got to look at both scenarios, not just the victims and not just the real dangerous dog owners or a specific breed of owners,” said Task Force Chairman Curt Anderson.

Originally, that work group had to be ready to present legislation by July 9 in order for the General Assembly to take it up in a special session expected to be called on gambling, but now that that’s up in the air, it may be next year’s regular session before the legislature can act.

The work group will meet again in the fall.

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