Court Of Appeals Won't Reconsider Pit Bull Decision
Court removes references to pit bull mixes while leaving owners and landlords responsible for injuries caused by pure-bred dogs.
UPDATED (4:27 p.m.)—The Maryland Court of Appeals will not reconsider an April decision in which it ruled that pit bull dogs are"inherently dangerous."
Judge Alan Wilner, in a nine-page decision issued Tuesday, denied the motion for reconsideration with one caveat. (The full decision is attached to this story.)
"That said, having re-read the briefs, relevant portions of the record extract, and the dissent, I am now convinced that, on the record before us, the application of the Court’s holding of strict liability to cross-bred pit bulls was both gratuitous and erroneous," wrote Wilner. "I would grant the motion for reconsideration, in part, to delete any reference to cross-bred pit bulls, so that the Court’s holding would apply only to pit bulls that are not cross-breds."
Left in place is the ruling by the state's highest court that dog owners and their landlords are responsible for injuries caused by the dogs.
Aileen Gabbey, executive director of the Maryland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, called the decision disappointing except for "the one change that it no longer should include “mixed’ breeds."
"It is still unclear how they are defining a “pure” pit bull," Gabbey wrote in a statement. "This ruling negatively impacts both humans and pets in Maryland. Residents should not have to choose between their home or their beloved family pets. We will continue to urge the specially-formed task force to meet on this issue before the regular Maryland General Assembly session convenes in January."
Tony Solesky, father of a Towson boy who was attacked and severely injured by a pit bull in 2007, applauded the decision.
"I don't see anything in the ruling other than everyone got their day (in court) and then they got some more," said Solesky.
State legislators failed to overturn the court decision during a special session that ended last week.
The earlier decision was part of a case involving Dominic Solesky, who was 10-years old when he was attacked by a pit bull named Clifford while playing Nerf tag in a Towson alley.
Solesky suffered severe wounds to his leg which the Court of Appeals called "gruesome." The boy underwent five hours of surgery and multiple blood transfusions during a 17-day hospital stay.