When pit bulls make the news, it's often for a vicious attack. Animal advocates think their reputation is unfair, but the Maryland Court of Appeals is keeping count with cases like Keyniya Harris in mind.
"The dog came running after me because the door wasn't locked and he just came pushing the door open and running after me," said Harris.
Seven-year-old Keyniya has deep gashes in her leg after a pit bull in her Rosedale neighborhood pinned her down. It happened in October of last year.
She needed 40 stitches and she missed a month of school.
"All she can do is holler mommy, mommy it just hurts, leg just all gashed over. I never seen nothing like that in my life," said Loretta Harris, Keyniya’s mom.
Loretta Harris was happy to hear the courts have taken a stand on pit bulls. A ruling handed down on Thursday calls the dogs inherently dangerous.
Now if a lawsuit is filed, the victim would only have to show that the dog owner or landlord of a property knew the dog is at least part pit bull since the courts claim they're all aggressive.
"Because this case impacts landlords, they may be more reluctant to allow certain types of dogs on their property. And because of that people might be faced with evictions if they have a certain kind of pet," said Aileen Gabbey, Executive Director, Maryland SPCA.
Gabbey says more pit bulls might end up at the Maryland SPCA without a permanent home. But there's no doubt the attack changed Keyniya's perception.
"I don't want to go outside near that area," said Keyniya.
"They belongs on the farm, away from kids. You know, put them on a big farm yard, not around kids," said Loretta Harris.
Gabbey believes owners have a big say in whether any dog learns to attack. She says it's more likely for a dog to be aggressive if it's not neutered.
The Maryland SPCA hopes the case will be reconsidered, and the Humane Society of the U.S. is encouraging people to write their lawmaker.
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