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Pit Bull Lovers Condemn Md. Court Holding as 'Racism for Canines'

As discussed here, last month the Court of Appeals of Maryland held that pit bulls as a breed are "inherently dangerous," thus eliminating the need for a plaintiff injured by a pit bull to show that the owner had actual knowledge that the specific pit bull involved was dangerous. The holding was a dramatic departure from the longstanding "one free bite" rule in Maryland and most states that provides that if your dog bites and injures another person and has never done anything like that before, you are not liable for those injuries because the law assumes that you had no knowledge that your dog was dangerous. 

The Maryland court's ruling has sparked a major backlash among dog rescue groups and, of course, pit bull owners, but also support from certain parents, groups and dog bite victims. CBS News reports that the Maryland SPCA disagrees with the ruling, and fears that it will lead to more pit bulls having to be "put down" instead of being adopted. The SPCA says it is nurture, not nature that gives the breed a bad reputation. "Every animal is an individual, so to say that all pit bulls are inherently dangerous is absolutely untrue," said the SPCA's Cheryl Bernard Smith. The SPCA is reportedly trying to solicit support from Maryland lawmakers to legislate around the holding.

In response to my LBW post on the subject here in April, dozens of pit bull owners, workers in veterinarian offices and other supporters have left comments on that post condemning the court's holding. Most of the comments emphasize the belief that it is not the dog or the breed that determines aggressiveness, but how the dog was raised. One commenter noted that "many pitbulls and 'pitbull looking' dogs will now DIE in shelters with no chance of getting a home" because of the decision. Another lamented that he himself won't be able to find "a place to live and will be forced to leave Md so that I can keep me 14 year old pit bull. Thanks Md, my Dog has never hurt anything but he is now an easy Target for me to be sued since people now days are always looking for a reason to sue somebody." And several others accused Maryland of engaging in a "form of racism, for canines."

Posted by Bruce Carton on May 3, 2012 at 04:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

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