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Pitbull Appeals Ruling

Pitbull Appeals Ruling

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Published by: jkarp1229 on May 02, 2012
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Tracey v. Solesky
No. 53, September Term 2012, Opinion by Cathell, J.
STRICT LIABILITY ADOPTED IN RESPECT TO ATTACKS ON HUMANS BYPIT BULL DOGS AND CROSS-BRED PIT BULL DOGS.
Upon a plaintiff’s sufficient proof that a dog involved in an attack is a pit bull or a pit bullcross, and that the owner, or other person(s) who has the right to control the pit bull’spresence on the subject premises (including a landlord who has a right to prohibit such dogson leased premises) knows, or has reason to know, that the dog is a pit bull or cross-bred pitbull, that person is liable for the damages caused to a plaintiff who is attacked by the dog onor from the owner’s or lessor’s premises. In that case a plaintiff has established a
 prima facie
case of negligence. When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove thatthe particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous.
 
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OFMARYLANDNo. 53September Term, 2011 DOROTHY M. TRACEYv.ANTHONY K. SOLESKY and IRENE SOLESKY, asthe Parents, Guardians and Next Friends of DOMINICSOLESKY, a Minor Bell, C.J.HarrellGreeneAdkinsBarberaWilner, Alan M. (Retired, Specially Assigned)Cathell, Dale R. (Retired, Specially Assigned),JJ. Opinion by Cathell, J.Harrell, Greene, and Barbera, JJ., dissent. Filed: April 26, 2012
 
1
While there were prior dog bite cases, we believe that this case was the firstinstance where the attacking dog is described as a bull terrier.
2
A small piece of timber such as a 2" by 4" or similar piece of framing, etc.
3
In addition to the maulings in Maryland, there have been at least two instances of serious maulings by pit bulls that have reached the appellate courts of the District of Columbia,
infra,
since 2005. Accordingly, within a hundred mile radius there have beennine serious mauling appellate cases involving pit bulls within the last thirteen years.In Maryland the vicious mauling of young children by pit bulls occurred as early as1916.
1
 
 Bachman vs. Clark,
128 Md. 245; 97 A. 440 (1916). In that case, a ten-year-old boy,John L. Clark, was playing on the north side of a street when a pit bull (“bull terrier”) cameacross the street from its owner’s property and attacked him, inflicting serious injuries. Thepit bull refused to release the boy until a witness picked up a “scantling”
2
and struck the dog,killing it. Similar to the testimony in the present case by the boy’s mother, in that old casethe mother described the aftermath of the attack on her child as follows:. . [H]e was unconscious, in such a condition that she did not know whetherhe was living or dead . . . Blood all over him. 
 Id.
at 247, 97 A.2d at 440.Over the last thirteen years, there have been no less than seven instances of seriousmaulings by pit bulls upon Maryland residents resulting in either serious injuries or death thathave reached the appellate courts of this State, including the two boys attacked by the pit bullin the present case.
3
Five of the pit bull attacks in Maryland have been brought to theattention of this Court, and two have reached the Court of Special Appeals.The first two attacks to reach this Court were reported in
Shields v. Wagman, et al,

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