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The Maryland House Judiciary Committee is considering a measure tomorrow that would seek to overturn a Maryland Court of Appeals ruling issued in early 2012 that said all “pit bulls” are inherently dangerous.

Maryland residents are encouraged to contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee and ask them to support House Bill 78. An identical measure – Senate Bill 160 – will be considered in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee on February 5.


Since the Tracey v. Solesky ruling, many dogs have automatically been ruled as dangerous regardless of their actions. The ruling also stated that landlords should be held liable for allowing tenants to keep these dogs on their property.  This has resulted in some landlords refusing to allow any dogs on their properties.

House Bill 78 and Senate Bill 160 are compromise measures that would overturn this decision. As a result, the liability for landlords would be the same as it was before this ruling.

The bills also create strict liability for all dog owners – regardless of breed. If a dog causes personal injury or death, there is then a “rebuttable presumption” that the owner knew or should have known that the dog had vicious or dangerous propensities. Maryland state law already has definitions of “potentially dangerous” and “dangerous” dogs that are based on a dog's specific actions and behavior. These bills would hold dog owners responsible for their pet's behavior regardless of whether they have previously been designated “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous”.

The American Kennel Club believes that these bills are a good compromise that will overturn the terrible ruling and begin to restore the rights of responsible dog owners in Maryland.

What You Can Do:

AKC encourages Maryland residents to contact the House Judiciary Committee members in support of House Bill 78. Residents may also consider attending the hearings. The information is as follows:

House Judiciary Committee (click on the link to access contact information)
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
2:30 p.m.
House Office Building, Room 100
Annapolis, MD 21401

** If you wish to testify in committee, you must take 35 copies of your remarks to the committee clerk at least 1 hour prior to the hearing, and sign the witness register before the hearing begins.

The American Kennel Club Government Relations Department (AKC GR) will continue to monitor these bills and provide updates. For more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or or the Maryland Dog Federation at

The Maryland House Judiciary Committee is considering a measure tomorrow that would seek to overturn…