The Maryland General Assembly failed to address a state court ruling designating pit bulls as "inherently dangerous" on the final day of this year's sesssion.
Legislation passed the state Senate — but not the House of Delegates — that would have overridden the Maryland Court of Appeals "breed specific" ruling affecting pit bull owners, which holds them strictly liable for dog bites whether or not their pit bull has a history of biting.
With the controversial court ruling last year, landlords, not just pit bull owners, were also deemed liable if they were aware that a tenant had a pit bull on their property as a pet.
“The big issue on the ground is the notices that people are getting from landlords, saying that they have to get rid of their dogs,” Tami Santelli, Maryland state director for The Humane Society of the United States, told The Washington Post. “I don’t think that there is any question that this issue will be back next year.
The court ruling was made in the wake of a pit bull attack that nearly killed then-10-year-old Dominic Solesky, of Baltimore County, six years ago.
Baltimore magazine covered the Soleski case, court decision and work by pit bull advocates to address the ruling in the General Assembly in February.
The legislation that passed the state Senate would have "required all dog owners to prove by clear and convincing evidence they had no prior knowledge that their dog was prone to biting for incidents involving victims 12 years old and younger," to avoid strict liability standards, according to reporting by The Washington Post. "For older victims, owners would have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that they had no knowledge their dog was prone to biting, a lesser standard."