Maryland: SB 247 passed in committee; Advances to full Senate

On Thursday, February 20, 2014, SB 247 was favorably reported out of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, and now advances to the full Senate.

The bill seeks to overturn the 2012 Court of Appeals ruling in Tracey v. Solesky, which declared pit bulls as “inherently dangerous,” and holds landlords strictly liable for injuries. The ruling created a nightmare situation for dog owners across the state, yet for the last two years, Maryland legislators have failed to come to an agreement on the language of the bill.

While both the House and Senate agree on the need for breed neutrality and a lesser standard for landlords under the law, there is still some disagreement  on the liability standard for dog owners.

Senate Bill 247 would make dog owners, not landlords, responsible for injuries caused by their dogs, and would protect responsible dog owners by creating a rebuttable presumption that the owners knew or should have known about their dog’s dangerous propensities, regardless of the breed of their dog.

SB 247 has been filed as an “emergency measure” that would take effect immediately upon enactment, thus giving responsible dog owners and innocent dogs immediate relief from a devastating court decision.

MARYLAND RESIDENTS:  Please CALL your respective Senators and ask them to support SB247 which would hold ALL dog owners accountable for the actions of their dogs, regardless of breed, and remove the “inherently dangerous” label given to pit bulls by the Maryland Court of Appeals.

The bill is currently on the Senate’s agenda for Wednesday, February 26, 2014, so please contact your legislators as soon as possible!

You can find your Senator and his or her contact information here.

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