Federal suit challenges Maryland Court of Appeals ruling on pit bulls

A resident at the low-income Armistead Gardens housing development is suing the state of Maryland in federal court, asking judges to strike down the Maryland Court of Appeals’ recent court ruling that pit bulls are inherently dangerous.

The complaint filed on September 12, 2012 argues that the plaintiff would have to move out of his home in the development of Armistead Gardens if he refuses to give up his dog. This comes as the result of a notice distributed to all residents of Armistead Gardens to “get rid of” their pit bulls or face eviction after the Court of Appeals ruling came down.

The suit argues that the Appeals Court ruling unconstitutionally overrode the property rights of people like the plaintiff by making them choose between their homes and their pets. In addition, the attorney for the plaintiff argues that if a restraining order is not issued, the plaintiff and his dog will be homeless before the end of September. While there is only one plaintiff in the suit, it is estimated it could apply to as many as 500 dog owners who live in Armistead Gardens.

Attorney Charles Edwards acknowledges the suit will be an uphill battle in his challenge, but recognized the need to do something for dog owners affected by the Court’s ruling.

The results of this legal challenge can have great implications for “pit bull” owners in Maryland, as humane societies are already hearing from homeowners and condo associations of plans to ban pit bulls in common areas. We will certainly be monitoring the progress of the suit with the hopes that Mr. Edwards’ novel approach will be successful in bringing about a ruling that will benefit Maryland pit bull owners.

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