If your pit bull attacks someone, don't expect much sympathy in court. An opinion recently released by the Maryland Court of Appeals states that you should have already known the breed was dangerous.
Maryland owners are now facing increased liability in attack cases, following a ruling in Tracey v. Solesky. The case involved a pit bull named Clifford that attacked a minor, causing life-threatening injuries.
"When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous," wrote Judge Dale R. Cathell in the opinion.
Cathell also stated that landlords have the right to prohibit pit bulls or pit bull cross-breeds from their property.
A PDF of the opinion is attached in the media gallery.
The opinion cited a series of cases involving vicious attacks by pit bulls, as well as expert evaluations and national statistics, according to a WBAL TV News report.
Aileen Gabbey, executive director of the Maryland SPCA, claimed the ruling could lead to fewer adoptions of pit bulls, ABC 2 News reported.
In February, a Howard County police officer shot and killed 8-year-old Yayo, a pit bull that ran toward an officer outside the dog's home in North Laurel, reported the Howard County Times, which said Howard County police can shoot a dog "if doing so will prevent the officer or another person from substantial harm."
In the past three years, the Howard County Police Department has reportedly shot, in addition to Yayo, an Autralian cattle dog in Elkridge and a lab mix in Columbia.
Is it fair for the court to designate pit bulls as inherently dangerous? How accountable should dog owners be held in attack cases? Tell us in the comments.