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POLL: Are Pit Bulls Really Violent?

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that pit bulls are dangerous.

A ruling this week in Maryland's highest court puts certain dog owners and landlords on a tighter leash.

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled in a case involving a pit bull attack that it is no longer necessary for those attacked by a pit bull or a pit bull mix to prove that the dog is violent—the owner or landlord "is strictly liable for the damages caused" by nature of the breed.

The decision's author, Judge Dale R. Cathell, wrote that in the last 13 years, "there have been no less than seven maulings by pit bulls upon Maryland residents resulting in either serious injuries or death that have reached the appellate court of this state, including the two boys attacked by the pit bull in the present case."

The case that prompted the ruling involved a pit bull that escaped from its pen in Towson in 2007 and injured two boys in one day, causing one to undergo one year in rehabilitation and multiple surgeries for wounds.

In the past, a victim would have to prove that an owner knew the dog was dangerous to file suit, said WBAL.

A judge who disagreed with the decision wrote that pit bulls have not been proven to be more dangerous than other dogs and noted there is no standard for determining mixed breeds, complicating the ruling's enforcement.

"There is no evidence from expert witnesses to support the proposition that pit bulls or pit bull mixed-breeds are inherently dangerous," wrote Judge Clayton Greene Jr., in a dissenting opinion, which two of his fellow judges signed.

"It appears that the media has demonized pit bulls as gruesome fighting dogs and has not revealed the long history of pit bulls as family dogs with passive behaviors." 

Aileen Gabbey, executive director of the Maryland SPCA, claimed the ruling could lead to fewer adoptions of pit bulls, ABC 2 News reported.

Do you think pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs? Tell us in the comments.

Tammy May 01, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Any dog has the propensity to bite for any number of reasons to include fear, anxiety, medical illness or injury, prior past bad experiences or abuse, etc. Pit bulls are no more likely to bite than any other breed and statistics show the breed with the highest documented cases of biting a human are what most view as "family pets," to include labradors and golden retrievers. In order to reduce the possibility of any dog responding inappropriately thier enviroment, owners must commit to enrolling their dog in basic training and manners classes, and more advanced classes for those dogs that may have enviromental sensitivites that could trigger them to nip or bite. The Court should be emabarassed by its decision and the lack of facts and evidence used to support its conclusion. In one full swoop their misguided holding has impacted thousands of pet owners, small businesses, renters, and families. In order for the judiciary to garner the respect of the public it MUST reconsider its decision under expert testimony provided by those who are experts in the area of dog behavior. The Court has now reduced an otherwise progressive state to one that can be viewed as more barbaric given its ignorant classification of a single breed of dog. What's next- will the Court now rule every white male between the ages of 40-50 has the propensity to be a pedophile! I have lost confidence in their ability to interpret the law accurately.
Gina Lola May 03, 2012 at 02:47 AM
No more than any other breed! We lead by example. And those we do come across who are, we should work to rehabililtate rather than turn our backs and soil a breed's name. Both of my forever dogs and my foster are all three bully breeds, two of them being pure pits. I can honestly say without hesitation and quite proudly, that I have never in my life felt safer or more loved than I have with them! To me, BSL is in the same spectrum as racism!
Gina Lola May 03, 2012 at 02:51 AM
I feel bad for you. Your ignorance on this subject is shown in your very first sentence alone.
Maryland Dog Federation May 03, 2012 at 12:50 PM
I am going to play Mary Sunshine here. For just a minute tho. if we can just survive the initial fallout for tenants with targeted dogs, I hope hope hope, working toward, making this an effort that will galvanize people across the state to get our legislators to pass a law to PROHIBIT DECLARING DOGS DANGEROUS BY BREED. Like maryland dog federation on FB!
K Moore June 13, 2012 at 09:25 PM
I own two pit mixes, and other than sounding ferocious, they are not. My nephew pulls on their tounges, ears, and tails, and neither have reacted. They are both very loving and fun.

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