Pit Bull/Dog Emergency Legislation Introduced in Maryland
The Maryland legislature has introduced new emergency legislation to address the Tracey v. Solesky decision, which held that pit bulls are considered inherently dangerous animals. In the new proposed legislation (which has not yet been adopted), there now will be a rebuttable presumption that an owner of any dog that causes personal injury or death, knew or should have known that the dog had vicious or dangerous propensities. What this means is that dog owners are presumed to know that their dog has vicious tendencies, regardless of whether the dog has attacked in the past. As far as liability for community associations, first ,in order to be held liable, the community association must have the right to control the dog’s presence on the premises and also know of the dog’s vicious or dangerous tendencies (which is the old common law theory of liability relating to attacks by dogs). We will keep you apprised of this bill as well as any other new legislation on this issue. If passed, the bill would take effect in June of 2013.
Ruth Katz is a community associations attorney at Lerch, Early & Brewer in Bethesda, Maryland who helps boards and managers with contentious issues such as pit bulls. For more information about how this ruling may impact your community, contact Ruth at (301) 657-0188 or firstname.lastname@example.org.