jeremy bednarsh marylandGood news for pit bull lovers! Maryland has now declassified the breed as “inherently dangerous.” The state has recognized the science behind the animals that they are not predisposed to be dangerous animals. On April 8, Governor Martin O’Malley signed a bill stating as such. This comes after last week when the Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill putting an end to the already controversial ruling in Tracey v. Solesky. Maryland’s highest court named pit bulls and pit bull mixes “inherently dangerous” in the 2012 case. The result was that pit bull owners and the owner’s landlords were held strictly liable for any attack. This had huge implications for pit bulls in the state ever since. Landlords, not wanting to be held liable, forced tenants to get rid of pit bulls or face eviction. This forced many pit bulls into shelters. This legislation went through at a state level even after President Obama, Centers for Disease Control, and the American Veterinary Medicine Association decried restricting any dog ownership to certain breeds because it doesn’t have any affect on safety.

President of the Washington Humane Society, Lisa LaFontaine states, “Breed Specific Legislation has consistently failed in communities around the world. It has no quantifiable impact on a decrease in dog bites or an increase in public safety.” She states that her organization has “successfully changed the perspective of pit bull type dogs in our communities and our policies, and we are pleased to see Maryland follow suit.”

The Maryland bill, HB 73 lifts the liability for landlords and makes all dog owners liable if their animal injures someone, regardless of breed. This is a big step forward for Maryland. The state director for the Maryland Humane Society, Tami Santelli states, “Passage of this compromise legislation end this disgraceful era of court sanctioned canine profiling, in which families with pit bull-type dogs were forced to choose between their homes and their beloved pets.” Maryland’s decision comes after Utah’s governor signed into law prohibiting municipalities from regulating god by breed in his state.