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Attorney General’s Office Weighs In On Pit Bull Ruling

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — A key development in Maryland’s controversial pit bull ruling that would allow landlords to evict people who own that breed: the Attorney General’s Office says while the ruling is being appealed, landlords don’t have that right.

Kai Jackson has more on what this means for dog owners.

The situation is far from resolved. This letter from the Attorney General may, however, give pit bull owners brief peace of mind.

When the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in April that pit bulls and mixed pit bull breeds are dangerous by nature, it angered pit bull owners and threw many into a panic.

“My apartment complex, they’re just trying to protect themselves, which I understand,” said Phillip Smeak.

The high court’s ruling was put on hold after a request to reconsider it.

At the request of two Maryland lawmakers, the Attorney General’s Office has just clarified what that means for pit bull owners. Many worried landlords would force them to get rid of their dogs.

“It is our view that the decision is not currently in effect,” said Assistant Attorney General Katherine Rowe.

“Dog owners across the state are going to be relieved right now that if they are receiving eviction notices that they’re gonna have this legal opinion on their side,” said Delegate Heather Mizeur.

In 2007, Dominic Solesky, 10, of Baltimore County, was attacked by a neighbor’s pit bull and almost died. His family filed a lawsuit against the dog owner’s landlord, claiming negligence.

“I don’t wanna see anybody lose their dog but I almost lost my son that day,” said Irene Solesky.

That case is at the heart of the ruling Maryland’s high court eventually has to make. Animal advocates say it’s important to distinguish between the breed and bad owners.

“So for the time being, pets and people are protected. People don’t have to choose between their home or their animals,” said Aileen Gabbey, Maryland SPCA.

Animal advocates say they’d like to find a solution before the next legislative session.

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