A collection of news articles about the landmark Maryland Court of Appeals decision in Tracey v. Solesky (April 2012) and the ensuing state legislative actions and deadly attacks that followed.
January 23, 2015
Letter: The court was right: Pit bulls are 'inherently dangerous'
Lisa Black | Baltimore Sun | I was glad to see Dan Rodricks' article about the Maryland Court of Appeals' ruling on pit bulls ("A tragic reminder of Md. pit bull ruling," Jan. 20). Maryland will see many more deaths and serious injuries as a result of attacks by pit bulls and other "gripping" dogs. The "bully" breeds were never intended as house pets...
January 20, 2015
In Frederick, a tragic reminder of pit bull ruling
Dan Rodericks | Baltimore Sun | Last April, Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law what I call Maryland's pit bull anti-discrimination measure. The legislation negated the 2012 ruling of the Maryland Court of Appeals that ownership of a pit bull should bear special liability because the dog is "inherently dangerous," and it applied the same legal standards to all dogs...
January 8, 2015
2015 Dog Bite Fatality: Maryland Man Mauled to Death by Adopted Rescue Pit Bull
DogsBite.org | New information has been released about an elderly man mauled to death by his pet pit bull while taking down his Christmas tree. The fatally attacking dog was a 4-year old neutered male pit bull that Eugene Smith and his son adopted from an unnamed rescue organization in May. The pit bull was not a stray as earlier reports claimed...
June 2, 2014
Maryland Legislature Mutes Landmark Ruling, Tracey v. Solesky, During 2014 Legislative Session
DogsBite.org | Annapolis, MD - On April 8, Governor Martin O'Malley signed Senate Bill 247 into law abrogating the Court of Appeals of Maryland's decision in Tracey v. Solesky. The 2012 decision declared pit bulls "inherently dangerous" and attached strict liability when a pit bull attacks a person. This liability extended to landlords when a tenant's...
April 26, 2014
Two years after Maryland court ruling, pit bulls on attack
Dan Rodericks | Baltimore Sun | In the two years since the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that pit bulls were inherently dangerous dogs, I developed a hobby: Pit Bull Google. It's a very edifying activity. Anyone with access to the Internet can do it ... Without fail, the search turns up a news story about a vicious dog attack somewhere in the U.S. within...
April 25, 2014
Dog Attacks - State Circle
State Circle | Maryland Public Television | Tony Solesky, whose family lies at the heart of the landmark Court of Appeals of Maryland decision, Tracey v. Solesky, appears on State Circle, hosted by veteran news anchor, Jeff Salkin, to discuss the new dog bite liability legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly during the 2014 Regular Session.
February 10, 2014
Lawmakers debate bills that would protect victims of dog bites
Tamieka Briscoe | MyEasternShoreMD.com | That boy’s father, Tony Solesky, testified Feb. 6 before the state Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in opposition of any bill that would limit the liability of pit bull owners or their landlords. He called the notion of breed discrimination “ridiculous” and said he opposed this and any bill that did not address the issues...
January 10, 2014
The deadly menace of pit bulls [Letter]
Pame Ashley | Baltimore Sun | I became friends with the Solesky family after I saw first-hand the aftermath of a pit bull attack on my dog ("Singling out pit bulls is unfair," Jan. 6). As a trauma nurse, I saw that the wounds inflicted by pit bulls were kill wounds — perforated carotid, brachial, femoral arteries, scalping, broken legs — far different from...
January 10, 2014
Legislature must protect victims of dog attacks [Letter]
Irene Solesky | Baltimore Sun | Dog bites are tracked by the health department because they are injurious and can cause death. Dog bites and mauling by law are a public welfare concern that has nothing to with dog owners' rights and everything to do with dog owners' responsibilities. When a bite or mauling incident occurs, humans instinctively seek help...
November 14, 2013
Making rescued pit bulls pets is an unnatural selection [Commentary]
Tony Solesky | Baltimore Sun | I fully support liberating any animal from abuse. It does not follow however, that rescued animals — pit bulls in particular — should be pushed as companion pets by shelters and rescue organizations. Terry Douglass of Baltimore became the 25th dog bite related fatality nationally this year when she was mauled to death by her own pit bull...
November 4, 2013
2013 Dog Bite Fatality: Baltimore Woman, 56, Killed by Her Pet Pit Bull
DogsBite.org | On Monday, CBS Baltimore aired a headine segment asking questions about why a pit bull with a history of two attacks was returned to its wheelchair-bound owner. The animal's third attack killed its owner. Reporter Rochelle Ritchie states in the onset of the segment, "Advocates say it should not have happened. In fact, the woman had a huge gash..."
April 17, 2013
Maryland High Court Ruling Stands: Pit Bulls are 'Inherently Dangerous'
DogsBite.org | On April 8, the last day of the Maryland General Assembly's 2013 Legislative Session, after weeks of discussion, amendments and name calling from Delegate Luiz Simmons, the House killed the final negotiated bill that would have reversed the high court ruling and set forth a new dog bite liability standard. For months, the difference...
April 9, 2013
Towson family has been at center of pit bull controversy
Alison Knezevich | Baltimore Sun | Tony Solesky said he made the decision to speak out about dog attacks when Dominic, then 10, was at Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he underwent five hours of trauma surgery and spent 17 days in the aftermath of the attack. "I turned to my wife, and I said, 'If he lives, we're going to have to do something about this,'" he said.
April 9, 2013
Pit Bull Legislation Fails On Final Day
Robert Lang | WBAL.com | State lawmakers ended their 2013 session on Monday night, failing to come to an agreement on a bill that would have changed liability standards in dog bite cases. Lawmakers took up the issue after a Maryland Court of Appeals decision last year, that automatically held pit bull owners legally responsible if their dogs...
April 9, 2013
Fur flies as pit bull compromise fails in Maryland
WTOP.com | A bill designed to take the tag of "inherently dangerous" from around the neck of pit bulls in Maryland failed to make it off the House floor, but it didn't go quietly ... "Absolutely not! And I take complete offense at your suggestion!" Dumais yelled back as Kramer continued to try to speak. But her outrage wasn't enough to reverse any decisions...
April 9, 2013
Dog bite liability measure fails in House
Capitol Gazette | Lawmakers on the final day of the Maryland General Assembly failed to pass a measure that would change a court ruling that designated pit bulls as an "inherently dangerous" breed. The bill, which received unanimous approval from the Senate on Monday, stalled in the House of Delegates. House Speaker Michael E. Busch said...
Ron Cassie | Baltimore Magazine | By the time the owner pulled his pit bull, Clifford, off Dominic, the dog had ripped opened his thigh and severed his femoral artery. Witnessing the attack and seeing Dominic lying in an expanding pool of blood, a neighbor dialed 911, pleading through tears for assistance. "I just saw a dog attack a little boy. He’s covered in blood...
January 10, 2013
Pit Bull Debate To Resume In Annapolis
Robert Lang | WBAL.com | The Court of Appeals decision came in the case of a Baltimore County family who sued a pit bull owner and their landlord after their ten year old son was attacked by a pit bull in 2007. "I think because pit bulls was the catalyst. I think I'd like to leave it intact what the court did," Tony Solesky told WBAL News. The Towson father appeared...
December 17, 2012
Solesky Family Releases 911 Call at the Center of High Court Decision
DogsBite.org News Release | Anthony and Irene Solesky, the parents of a young pit bull mauling victim at the center of Tracey v. Solesky, an appellate court decision that declared pit bulls "inherently dangerous," release the 911 call of the attack upon their son. The life-threatening attack inflicted by a neighbor's pit bull occurred...
November 12, 2012
Showdown Continues Over Controversial Md. Pit Bull Ruling
CBS Baltimore | The firestorm over pit bulls ignited after the Soleskys sued not only the pit bull’s owner, but his landlord, too. "I've never cared for this breed as a domestic pet and so once one of them attacked my child, I had to investigate," said Dominic’s father, Tony Solesky. In a recent ruling, the Court of Appeals labeled pit bulls inherently dangerous...
August 21, 2012
Court of Appeals Narrows Decision to Pit Bulls; Removes Cross-Bred Pit Bulls
DogsBite Blog | In a rare decision by the high court to grant a motion for reconsideration, the Maryland Court of Appeals narrowed its April, 26 2012 ruling in Tracey v. Solesky by limiting its ruling only to pit bulls and removing the terms: cross-breds, pit bull mix, or cross-bred pit bull mix. The Court narrowed its original Opinion because the case before them...
August 21, 2012
Court Of Appeals Won't Reconsider Pit Bull Decision
Bryan Sears | GaithersburgPatch | Judge Alan Wilner, in a nine-page decision issued Tuesday, denied the motion for reconsideration with one caveat ... Tony Solesky, father of a Towson boy who was attacked and severely injured by a pit bull in 2007, applauded the decision. "I don't see anything in the ruling other than everyone got their day (in court) and then...
August 15, 2012
Pit Bull Bite Liability Bill Fails In Special Session
CBS Baltimore | After an intense debate over pit bulls, Maryland’s General Assembly deadlocked on legislation that would have stopped a controversial law labeling pit bulls as inherently dangerous from taking effect. "It tackled him, bit him in the face, drug him to the ground, bit him in the arm, and ultimately it got him in the femoral artery," said Tony Solesky...
August 15, 2012
Anthony Solesky, Father of Pit Bull Mauling Victim, to Testify at Hearings
DogsBite Blog | Just after midnight last night, a coup occurred in the Maryland General Assembly. The Senate rejected the corrupted House version of the strict liability bill that would fail to address over 50% of all Maryland dog bite victims by limiting strict liability to only those bitten by loose dogs (victims in off-property attacks). Senate President Mike Miller...
August 10, 2012
State Senate extends strict liability to all dogs, not just pit bulls
Christian Schaffer | ABC2 | "You elect to have a pit bull in Maryland, then you have to elect to take the consequences that come with it," said his father, Tony Solesky. He says he understands the outrage animal advocates have shown, but five years of developing his family's case has convinced him that the Court of Appeals was right on...
August 8, 2012
Pit bull legislation falls short
Kevin Dunne | Baltimore Sun | As a result of my representation of a 10-year-old boy who was brutally mauled by a neighbor's pit bull, I have recently been thrust into a heated and, at times, toxic public debate concerning the dangerousness of certain breeds of dogs. This debate has been particularly frustrating because the two sides do not actually disagree...
June 19, 2012
Dog Owners & Relatives Of Boy Attacked By Pit Bull Take Case To Annapolis
Robert Lang | WBAL.com | A legislative task force studying pit bulls continue held its first meeting today in Annapolis. The task force of ten lawmakers was formed after an April decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals which ruled pit bulls were an "inherently dangerous" breed, and the dog's owners and their landlords would automatically...
June 19, 2012
Lawmakers on pit bull task force hear from animal advocates and family of badly bitten victim
Associated Press | The Washington Post | Anthony Solesky told lawmakers he has felt like the attack on his son has been minimized by an outcry from animal rights activists who have vocally condemned the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling out of animal welfare concerns. "It’s not possible to put an animal before a human being and then surmise...
June 14, 2012
Pipkin plans legislation restoring Md. liability standard for pit bulls
Shauna Thompson | Stardem.com | State Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin plans to introduce a bill this summer negating a court decision declaring pit bulls inherently dangerous. In a letter to the Kent County News, Pipkin, R-36-Upper Shore, decried the April 26 Maryland Court of Appeals ruling, saying it forces pit bull owners to give up their pets...
June 8, 2012
Video: Attorneys Discuss Maryland Court of Appeals Ruling
Jeff Salkin | StateCircle, Mpt.org | Recently, the Court of Appeals of Maryland ruled that the owners of pit bulls are liable for damages if the dog attacks. Tonight, we hear from both sides of the argument. Guests include attorney Kevin Dunne of Ober Kaler, who represents the young mauling victim, and attorney Larry Gebhardt of Gebhardt & Smith.
June 4, 2012
Maryland Assembly May Take Bite Out of Ruling on Pit Bulls
David Hill | The Washington Times | The Maryland General Assembly could consider legislation that would soften the impact of an April court ruling classifying pit bulls as “inherently dangerous” in the latest of several recent cases that have highlighted the checks and balances between the state’s legislative and judicial branches...
May 30, 2012
Maryland Lawmakers Form Pit Bull Task Force
WBOC.com | Maryland lawmakers will review the impact of a ruling by the state's highest court that concluded pit bulls are an inherently dangerous breed and consider legislation in response, the presiding officers of the Maryland General Assembly announced Wednesday. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch announced...
May 17, 2012
House speaker says pit bull ruling should be discussed
Alexander Pyles | The Daily Record | The presiding officer of the House of Delegates said the General Assembly should do something about a recent Court of Appeals ruling that calls pit bulls inherently dangerous. The ruling makes owners and landlords automatically liable if a pit bull bites or otherwise attacks someone. But Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel...
May 4, 2012
Maryland shelters, rescues brace for increase in Pit bull surrenders
Kate S. Alexander | Gazette.net | Humane groups bear the responsibility for Maryland being pushed to the point of a breed-specific declaration and a strict liability ruling for landlords, said group founder Colleen Lynn. “Humane groups have been totally aware of the pit bull problem for 30 years, and they refuse to stand behind laws that directly target the breeders...
May 3, 2012
Pit bull ruling outrages rescue groups, owners
Whit Johnson | CBS This Morning | Colleen Lynn, who runs an education website about dangerous dogs called DogsBite.org, wrote a brief to the Maryland court supporting the decision. She told CBS News, "When they attack, they don't stop. This is what ends up killing people. Pit bulls are the top killing dog breed." Lynn hopes other states will follow Maryland's lead...
May 2, 2012
Maryland Court Finds Pit Bulls to be 'Inherently Dangerous'
Martin Austermuhle | DCist | According to a Centers for Disease Control report cited by the court, pit bulls were responsible for 66 of the 238 dog bite-related fatalities across the country between 1979 and 1996; DogsBite.org reports that pit bulls were responsible for 71 percent of the 31 fatal dog attacks that took place in 2011.