“In Maryland now, if your pit bull bites, negligence no longer needs to be proven. Under the ruling, not just pit bull owners, but landlords who have the dogs living on their property are now liable for their actions … 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.”
Maryland Court of Appeals Holds Pit Bull Owners and Landlords Accountable After an Attack
Baltimore, MD – In January, DogsBite.org announced our filing of an amicus brief in a landmark Maryland appeals case, Tracey v. Solesky, in hopes of expanding more liability out to landlords when a tenant’s pit bull attacks. The case involves the parents of a young boy seeking damages for injuries inflicted by a pit bull owned by a landlord’s tenant. Also at issue is the “dangerousness” of pit bulls being “well-recognized,” as determined in the 1998 case, Matthews v. Amberwood.
In Matthews, the Court of Appeals of Maryland ruled in a 4-3 vote that the landlord could have taken steps to abate the danger of a pit bull kept by a tenant when the landlord knew of the dog’s presence and was aware of the dog’s dangerousness. It was our hope that the Solesky opinion would expand Matthews further. On April 26, 2012, the Court of Appeals, in another 4-3 vote, did expand it and with great clarity by attaching strict liability when a pit bull or pit bull-cross attacks.
Dear Colleen Lynn,
As the parents of a child who endured a disfiguring near-death mauling by a pit bull terrier, I can’t begin to express my gratitude by your founding Dogsbite.org. A lifelong dog enthusiast myself, I have also been concerned when mans best friend is bred to the extremes. That concern was realized in the nightmare our innocent 10-year old son endured — the carnage an extremely ill bred dog can bring. My interest in both animals, dogs in particular, and my love for children moved me to public protection and victims’ advocacy. I have been involved and often relied upon Dogsbite.org for guidance in the criminal and civil aspects of our ongoing ordeal that began over four years ago. Throughout this time and currently, I again rely upon you and the information collected on Dogsbite.org to compel public officials to see that this issue is not one of dog owners rights, but one that is a monolithic public health, welfare and safety threat.
My wife Irene and I both wanted to take the time to say that while your detractors are adversarial, well organized and effective at getting their message out, their legions are small. Ironically, their small pack and “big bark” crusade borders on vacuous in comparison to the vastly more representative concerns you address on behalf of the public on Dogsbite.org (you’ve got real bite).
Keep fighting the good fight. God bless.
– Anthony and Irene Solesky, Towson, Maryland
Pit Bull Attack Victims May Have New Hope to Recover from Landlords After Maulings
DogsBite.org files amicus brief in landmark appeals case that hopes to expand liability out to landlords when a tenant’s pit bull attacks. Personal injury attorneys may soon have a new argument in their tool chest and landlords may have new concerns.
DogsBite.org, a national dog bite victims’ group dedicated to reducing serious dog attacks, announces amicus brief filing in Solesky v. Tracey, recently argued in the Court of Appeals of Maryland. The case involves the parents of a young boy seeking damages for injuries inflicted by a pit bull owned by a landlord’s tenant. Using a new legal theory, the plaintiff hopes to uphold that landlords may be liable when a tenant’s pit bull attacks a person.