.

POLL: Are Pit Bulls Really Violent?

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

A recent ruling 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." 

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

Laura Shenk April 30, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Any pet owner should be responsible for injuries incurred by their pet, with possible exception in cases where the pet was being deliberately provoked, injured, or made to feel threatened. Pit Bulls, or dogs that even resemble pit bulls, and their owners, should be treated no differently than any other breed of dog and their owners. This ruling has the potential to adversely affect people who own any dog that bears any resemblance to a pit bull, people who rent to the owners of these dogs, and rescue organizations or shelters who adopt them out. Lets also keep in mind that the Pit Bull is not a clearly defined breed. It seems to me that anyone who owns a mixed breed dog w/ a blocky head has reason to be concerned.
Joyce Grabush April 30, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Well stated, Laura. Thank you for your wisdom! We need to go from identifying dogs by breed to identifying dogs as individuals, as so many dogs are incorrectly identified as a particular breed or breed/mix. A great article to reference is "Beyond Breed" in Best Friends magazine from the March/April 2011 issue.
Buck Harmon May 01, 2012 at 01:08 PM
The REAL shame here is that discriminating~bogus law has gotten involved...some real dummies must have dreamed this one up...
Mary Koster May 01, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Shocking that this has turned into a battle against a breed. Just as others have stated, it's about the owners and how they are raised... if any dog is chained and not socialized or tormented, it is going to be agressive. once again, it should be dog-specific according to the owner's treatment, not breed anything. I fear the doberman's on my street - they have been trained to be killers quite literally by a cop who lives near me. Do I then hate all doberman's? Heck no... just fear those TWO because of what their owners did to them. Pits are no different...if they have been mistreated, like any dog, they will dog or person aggressive. I have met more nasty little dogs who bite and nip and are not well socialized than any other large dog I know...
Buck Harmon May 01, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Well said...pretty simple..
kem mason May 02, 2012 at 01:33 AM
I have always said it is up to the owners. Pit Bulls can be sweet . It's all in how they are raised.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something