This post is an alert for Maryland residents (particularly those in Hagerstown).

On April 26th, the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a ruling in Tracey v. Solesky that “pit bull” (which is not a recognized standard of breed) and “pit bull mixes” are automatically deemed dangerous if they involved in an attack. Proof of dangerousness is no longer required. This means that the dog owners and landlords are held strictly liable and do not need prior knowledge that the dog has, or will, attack.

The City of Hagerstown is considering an ordinance that would follow the decision of the Court of Appeals. Click here to read the proposed language. On June 5th, the city council will discuss (not necessarily in a public hearing format) whether to accept the language of the ordinance. If they do, the city council will likely vote on June 19th. So while tomorrow’s meeting likely will not allow for public comment, you can voice your opinion (if you live in Maryland, and particularly in Hagerstown), by sending a polite opinion to Donna Spickler (City Clerk).

The National Canine Research Council has a webpage specifically dedicated to this court case and the ramifications. When writing your opinion, the information from NCRC will give you good talking points.

If you have a dog and live in Maryland, it is very important for you to speak up. Because there is no breed standard for “pit bull”, too many dogs who may simply resemble what someone believes a “pit bull” may look like could end up losing their lives out of ignorance. Please take action and share this with others in Maryland.

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