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Update: Ruling on a motion for reconsideration, the Court decided that owners of cross-bred pit bulls are not strictly liable for the damages caused by their pets. Writing for the majority, Judge Alan Wilner noted that the case did not deal with cross-bred pit bulls, and so the court should not have ruled on them. Secondly, the term 'cross-bred' is vague. The court cannot impose a duty upon owners without a clear definition.
In a decision filed April 26, 2012, the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled that owners and landlords are strictly liable for damages caused by pit bulls. A person who has been attacked does not need to prove that the particular dog has a history of viciousness. The majority opinion in the case of Tracey v. Solesky holds that pit bulls are inherently dangerous. A person who has been attacked by a pit bull can make a claim for damages against an owner simply by proving that the dog is a pit bull or a pit bull mix and that the owner knows or should know that the dog is a pit bull or mix. Landlords who know or have reason to know that a pit bull is kept on his property may also be sued for damages caused by the dog.
In his opinion, Judge Dale Cathell cited cases both in Maryland and other jurisdictions throughout the country where pit bulls have been treated differently than other dog breeds. Judge Cathell also referenced studies showing that pit bulls have been involved in a large number of attacks in the last several decades.
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