Friday, June 29, 2012

Does she look like a killer to you?

My "inherently dangerous" dog
and her favorite kitty
This week, legislators gathered in Annapolis to reconsider an April ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals that imposes strict liability on owners of pit bull-type dogs and the landlords who rent to them, based on the assumption that the animals are born with an “aggressive and vicious nature.”

The case stems from a 2007 dog mauling in which a 10-year-old boy was seriously injured by an American Staffordshire terrier, requiring several surgeries. The parents of the child sued the dog’s owner and his landlord, and the case went all the way to Maryland’s highest court. In deciding in favor of the plaintiffs, the court cited statistics suggesting that pit bulls are responsible for a higher incidence of fatal attacks than other breeds, and extrapolated the data to conclude that the dogs are “inherently dangerous.”

Under the new precedent, it’s no longer necessary to prove negligence in bite cases where a pit bull or pit-mix is concerned. The way the court sees it, simply owning one is negligent enough.

Well, I can think of about a dozen people off the top of my head who own pit bulls who could present a solid argument as to why that’s complete bullocks. But personal bias aside, the court’s finding simply doesn’t hold water. For one thing, equating an ability to inflict harm with a propensity to is irresponsible, shortsighted and a “slippery slope” if ever there was one.  But that’s not the only problem with the ruling. Continue reading at The Philly Post...