Legislature should reverse pit bull ruling

May 15, 2012

Given the lack of interest in the Maryland General Assembly regarding pit bulls being labeled as "inherently dangerous," I must speak out in their defense ("Pit bull bill sought for special session," May 8). Perhaps owners of pit bulls should be labeled as inherently dangerous! My apologies to pit bull owners who love, train, and incorporate their dogs into their families; however, in Baltimore City and County, it is relatively easy to find bad owners creating bad dogs.

I think the legislature needs to correct a mistake. People of Maryland need to speak out and support legislation to undo the Court of Appeals decision. The General Assembly needs to better understand that the dogs are inherently "good," but sadly, this breed attracts the absolute worst owners.

In addition to changing the label, anti-tethering laws are desperately needed in this state. Tethering a dog outside to an inanimate object like a tree for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week is a sure way to "train" an inherently good dog to become a very bad dog. A tethered dog left outside in the elements 24/7 — freezing in the winter and frying in summer due to improper and bare bones shelter — without exercise, affection, and socialization will more than likely become a very frustrated, angry and, eventually, dangerous animal.

Some states with the wisdom to pass anti-tethering laws have recognized that limiting the amount of time that a dog is tethered is a great way to reduce the number of dogs that bite or roam. Some of these states (and even individual communities) have passed laws and ordinances that limit tethering to just a few hours a day. Anti-tethering laws at very least help prevent some of the behaviors of bad owners that make their dogs become mean.

Attention, Gov.Martin O'Malley, state senators and delegates: Create animal abuse laws that are effective in preventing the creation of dangerous dogs. As you for the rest of us, we must speak out in favor of laws that create humane treatment and safer communities!

Nancy B. Marks, Windsor Mill

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