Are Pit Bulls Dangerous by Nature? Court Says Yes

The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled that owners of pit bulls are liable for damages caused by attacks by the breed.

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.

jennifer May 22, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Another thing children can turn out bad because of their parents gowing up to be criminals, murders, robbers etc but does society put them to sleep....NO THEY PUT THEM IN JAIL FOR LESS THAN WHAT THEY DESERVE THEN RELEASE THEM TO DO THE SAME THING! but thats OK! its ok for people to go walking around harming and killing people and serve no harsh punishment. But let a dog be a product of a irresponsible owner and its ALL the dogs fault!!
Tiara July 18, 2012 at 03:40 PM
Thats like saying we should kill all of the middle easterns because it would save the lives of many others and could have possibly prevented 9/11.... Dogs, just like people, are a product of environment.
Tiara July 18, 2012 at 03:44 PM
EXACTLY!!!!! Dogs/People are a product of their environment Carolyn.. I would like to know if you or a good friend have ever OWNED a pit bull???
Susan August 10, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Bob, You may want to check your facts. The following is from Dogbites.org: 2011 statistics2 31 U.S. fatal dog attacks occurred in 2011. Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 650 U.S. cities, pit bulls led these attacks accounting for 71% (22). Pit bulls make up less than 5% of the total U.S. dog population.3 Notably in 2011, adult victims of fatal pit bull attacks more than doubled the number of child victims. Of the 22 total pit bull victims, 68% (15) fell between the ages of 32 to 76, and 32% (7) were ages 5 years and younger. The year 2011 also marks an increase in pet pit bulls killing their owners. Of the 8 total instances this year in which a family dog inflicted fatal injury to its primary caretaker, the dog's owner, 88% (7) involved pet pit bulls. Together, pit bulls (22) and rottweilers (4), the number two lethal dog breed, accounted for 84% of all fatal attacks in 2011. In the 7-year period from 2005 to 2011, this same combination accounted for 74% (157) of the total recorded deaths (213). The breakdown between pit bulls and rottweilers is substantial over this 7-year period. From 2005 to 2011, pit bulls killed 128 Americans, about one citizen every 20 days, versus rottweilers, which killed 29; about one citizen every 88 days.
Marie March 08, 2014 at 07:27 AM
@K, while I abhor people like michael vick and I don't think he got the punishment he deserved Pit Bulls are NOT dangerous unless degenerates makes them dangerous. They are sweet lovable dogs and are extremely intelligent. Anyone who says they love their dogs and stand outside a pit watchiing them tear apart or being torn apart is one sick individual.


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