Dog Owners Happy About New Pit Bull Ruling

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New changes to Maryland law fix a problem faced by families and their pets around the state. The controversial pit bull court ruling has finally been resolved.

Political reporter Pat Warren has reaction to the new law.

Pit bulls are no longer being singled out as inherently dangerous under Maryland law.

A long-standing debate over the nature of pit bulls came to a head in a 2012 court ruling that identified the breed inherently dangerous and found a landlord liable in a 2007 attack against Dominic Solesky.

“It started throwing me around the alley,” Solesky said.

Some landlords moved to protect themselves with eviction notices.

“They don’t give you no time limit, no time to find a home for them or anything,” said one pet owner.

Pet owners appealed to the General Assembly in 2012 and 2013 but the House and Senate locked horns until voting this session to release landlord liability and hold all owners liable for their dogs with no regard for breed.

“It was surprisingly difficult, but we have a good fix. I feel it’s fair to pet owners, it’s fair to victims, it’s fair to landlords,” said Senator Brian Frosh.

The bill passed as emergency legislation and took effect as soon as it was signed Tuesday. Pet owners are relieved.

“I have a pit bull dog and she is my life. I rescued her out of southeast D.C. and I was almost homeless because I own her,” said pet owner Jenna Bartholomew.

Animal shelters hope the new law encourages adoptions.

“If you are interested in adopting a pit bull, please come out to the Baltimore Humane Society. We have lots of lovely dogs ready for a home, ready to be family pets,” said Jen Swanson.

Owners can be held liable for dog bites unless they can prove there was no reason to believe the dog was aggressive.

In coming weeks, the governor will also sign bills decriminalizing marijuana and raising the minimum wage.

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