Pit Bull Bill Passes!

Maryland lawmakers reconvened in a special session in Annapolis on Thursday to grapple with the recent Maryland Court of Appeals ruling in Tracey v. Solesky, which held that owners and anyone with the power to control the presence of pit bull type dogs or pit bull mixes on the premises is strictly liable for any potential damages. I’ve blogged about this on two previous occasions (1) Here, right after the decision was announced; and, (2) Here, this past Thursday to advise readers that the Maryland General Assembly was considering legislation to overturn the decision.

In short, the Tracey v. Solesky decision was important for landlords and my landlord clients because landlords and property owners suddenly faced the prospect of massive liability. Tenants also faced the choice of being evicted or giving up their beloved family pet, even if that dog never demonstrated any vicious propensities.

I am happy to report that yesterday, Maryland Senators voted 41-1 approving a final bill that reverses Maryland Court of Appeals decision that defines pit bulls as an “inherently dangerous” breed of dog and holding pit bull owners and their landlords automatically responsible for any injuries the dogs may cause. The passed bill specifically reverses the strict liability standard imposed upon landlords.

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