Compromise Bill Fails, High Court Ruling Stands

April 9, 2013

You may already know that last night, on the last day of the legislative session, the compromise legislation to reverse the high court's ruling failed. What this means is that the Tracey court ruling stands. In the words of the court, the following remains true:

     Upon a plaintiff's sufficient proof that a dog involved in an attack is a pit bull, and that the owner, or other person(s) who has the right to control the pit bull's presence on the subject premises (including a landlord who has a right to prohibit such dogs on leased premises) knows, or has reason to know, that the dog is a pit bull, that person is liable for the damages caused to a plaintiff who is attacked by the dog on or from the owner's or lessor's premises. In that case a plaintiff has established a prima facie case of negligence. When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous.

[The term "pit bull cross" has been removed; the high court later narrowed the decision.]

     WBAL has audio snippets (see right column) of the House debate. The first and last are quite interesting: Pit Bull Legislation Fails On Final Day.
     WTOP spells out some of the debate seen below: Fur flies as pit bull compromise fails in Maryland.
     "Lawmakers debated the bill for about a half hour before it was tabled.
     The debate turned heated when opponent Delegate Ben Kramer questioned proponent Delegate Kathleen Dumais about how many other states have such laws.
     "When you say that there are 32 other states that have strict liability that would be somewhat of a misrepresentation in that... " Kramer began before being cut off by Dumais.
     "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. Concerns that every nip at an ankle could turn into what some lawmakers called "1-800-Dog-Bite" killed the bill with minutes to go before the end of the legislative session.

Thank you for all of your efforts! Your efforts counted!

DogsBite is currently working on a post about the aftermath of the legislative session.

Thank you for your supportive actions!

Visit: Maryland Dog Bite Victim Advocacy