- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Ohio university quiz implies atheists are naturally smarter than Christians
- Rep. Henry Cuellar on border crisis: ‘Playing defense on the one-yard line’
EDITORIAL: Maryland’s canine holocaust
Cruel court ruling condemns dogs to death based on their appearance
Question of the Day
Man’s best friend is coming under ferocious attack. More and more rules and regulations are popping up to condemn dogs based not on their individual character, but whether they look dangerous. For example, the county council in Belfast, Ireland, earlier this week executed Lennox, a bulldog-Labrador mix guilty of looking like a pit bull.
Closer to home, Maryland’s highest court in April overturned the state’s negligence rule that stated an owner had to have knowledge of the dog’s tendency to bite to establish liability in a biting incident. In the case Tracey v. Solesky, the Court of Appeals established strict liability in the context of a bite by a “pit-bull type” dog, not just for the owner, but also for the landlords who rent to families who own pit bulls because they are, according to the ruling, “inherently dangerous.”
That means there are two different liability standards if someone is bitten: one for the “pit bull” dogs, and one for all other types of dog. The first problem is there is actually no such breed as a “pit bull.” The term generally applies to four different breeds, according to the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club, the largest purebred registries. Because the court ruling also covers mixes of these breeds, there is no way short of DNA testing, at $120 a pop, to confirm whether a dog qualifies. Testing animals who have not displayed any tendency to bite and tearing them away from loving homes is a cruel waste of resources.
Extending liability to landlords is an unprecedented move. While many states have a strict liability rule for all dogs, regardless of breed, such liability is always limited to the dog’s owner. As a result of the new legal landscape, however, some landlords have already started evicting renters who own pit bulls. Likewise, shelters have seen an uptick in surrender of dogs. Unless the rule is changed, there will doubtless be a flood of pit bulls and mixes coming in. This increase, coupled with a drop in the ability and willingness to adopt the dogs, means they will die simply for being the wrong breed, regardless of whether they pose a danger to anyone.
Prince George’s County has had a ban on pit bulls in place for years, but two formal reviews of this policy found it expensive to enforce and ineffective in improving safety. The county’s Animal Management Division chief, Rodney Taylor, recommended “get[ting] away from the issue of breeds” in testimony before the General Assembly. Breed-specific laws like this simply don’t work.
The Court of Appeals ruling won’t take effect until a motion for reconsideration is addressed. That gives lawmakers in Annapolis a little bit of breathing room to clarify the law and save families from the prospect of losing beloved pets because of a handful of judges with overactive imaginations.
The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trump-Carson a 2016 dream ticket
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obama fundraises as the world burns
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: No U.S. support for Christian peril
- EDITORIAL: Gun-shy Obama
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
Get Breaking Alerts
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- White House readies for House GOP impeachment push: 'Foolish' to ignore
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab