Maryland Bills — SB 160 and HB 78 — Would Overturn “Pit Bull” Strict Liability of Tracey v. Solesky
April 10, 2013 update: The bills that would have reversed the court decision (Tracey v. Solesky) declaring “pit bulls” an inherently dangerous “breed” failed.
March 27, 2013 update: The Maryland House and Senate are still at an impasse over the “pit bull” bill.
March 14, 2013 update:
The Baltimore Sun notes that,
…the state Senate on Thursday unanimously passed its version of a bill intended to reverse a court decision declaring pit bulls an inherently dangerous breed.
Senate passage sets up a likely conflict with the House, which has taken a significantly different approach to the issue of a dog owner’s liability for bites. Both versions of the bill set the same rules for all breeds, without singling out pit bulls, but the two chambers set different standards for a dog owner to avoid liability when a pet bites someone.
The Senate set a standard of “clear and convincing” proof that the owner did not know in advance that a biting dog had aggressive tendencies. The House would let the owner escape liability by meeting the lesser standard of preponderance of the evidence.
A joint conference committee could be asked to attempt to resolve the differences between the two chambers. If no agreement is reached, last year’s Court of Appeals decision labeling pit bulls dangerous would remain law…
After the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled last year inÂ Tracey v. Solesky that that non-existent “breed” “pit bull” should be considered inherently dangerous with little more “evidence” than the standard tripe offered by the likes ofÂ Dogsbite.org, the Maryland general assembly has been tasked with overwriting the court’s legislating-from-the-bench overreach via companion billsÂ HB 78 and SB 160.Â
Since few articles on the bills have actually listed the bill numbers so that interested parties could look up the legislation, I am including the links for SB 160 and HB 78 and the status updates on the bills for SB 160 here, and HB 78 here.Â
Please continue to monitor these bills, and if you live in the state of Maryland, please continue to offer your support to their respective committees for their passage.Â