Legislature needs to fix court's pit bull ruling

August 15, 2012

The Maryland legislature should be applauded for its willingness to tackle the many problems created by the Tracey v. Solesky decision dealing with liability for pit bull attacks. Too many Maryland renters are now fearing eviction for no other reason than the apparent breed of their companion dogs. And, as the many hours of hearing testimony made clear, breed-specific liability standards are not the way to solve dangerous dog problems.

The American Bar Association recently adopted a resolution urging legislatures "to adopt comprehensive breed-neutral dangerous dog/reckless owner laws that ensure due process protections for owners, encourage responsible pet ownership and focus on the behavior of both dog owners and dogs, and to repeal any breed discriminatory or breed specific provisions." The Maryland legislature should seize the opportunity to follow the guidance this of this timely resolution as it moves forward in its efforts to address these important issues.

Susan Hankin, Baltimore

The writer is an associate professor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

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