Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pitbulls need a better lobbyist in Annapolis!

Since the Maryland Court of Appeals decision branding the breed "inherently dangerous," public pressure appeared to be mounting for our state politicians to overturn the decision through legislative fiat. That effort has failed, as reported by the Baltimore Sun on August 15th.

The State Senate drafted a bill that would have imposed strict liability for ALL breeds, from your infirm corgi to your neighbor's musclebound rottweiler. If the senate bill prevailed, the shelters may well have been full of all breeds of dogs, as they were abandoned by their apartment dwelling owners.  Want more? Fetch SB

But the State House took a different tack.  It drafted a bill that would have preserved most of the common law, and eliminated common law defenses in limited circumstances.  The draft sought to preserve most of Maryland's "one bite" law.  In a reading mood? Chew on this copy of HB 1804.

But in a special legislative session that was called to address casino gambling, and the State's growing thirst for gambling income, the dogs were shooed off the legislative couch and sent outside.

Expect to see this issue return when the legislature returns in January 2013. Fido will have to live with the uncertainty, until then.

Of course, there is no legislation that protects the poor slob who gets mauled to death by his own Pit Bull, as was reported on July 11, 2012, in Ohio. Poor Mr. Brown was a dialysis patient who was attacked by his own beloved pooch while hooked to his dialysis the safety and sanctity of his own home!  After the attack, he remained conscious long enough to call the police, but, alas:
"The paramedics could not get to this individual, they needed the dog removed. It took our officer about 10 minutes to respond. By the time he had gotten there police had already shot the dog so the paramedics could get to the victim," ...Lt. Bardeau with Cincinnati Police say they hadn't received any complaints about the dog.
Ironically, Ohio repealed it's own breed-specific legislation three months ago. Perhaps Mr. Brown's dog felt empowered?

On July 5, 2012, a Canadian study reported that breed specific Pit Bull bans correlated with fewer hospitalizations of dog bit victims.Visit this summary as additional food for thought.

On August 27, 2012, the Baltimore Sun reported a dog attack at the nearby Waverly Market, an open air market near the former site of Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. I spent years visiting this market, and know well the restriction on dogs. This story reports on the dog left chained to a parking meter that broke free to maul a 20 year old woman.  And it was a Rottweiler, and not a Pitbull.

A distinction without a difference, in my book, as they are both musclebound jaws with eyes and blood lust.  But it should make a difference to our legislators and the Maryland Court of Appeals- the problem extends beyond Pit Bulls.

Chew on that.

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