Maryland's highest court says pit bulls should be considered "inherently dangerous” and now people who take care of those dogs are trying to argue that they are not -- while they deal with the many pit bulls crowding their shelters.
“They're excellent. They're perfect pets,” said Jen Swanson, executive director of the Baltimore Humane Society.
Six pit bulls, the so-called "Pit 6" have been at the Humane Society for the past nine months, after spending two years in the custody of Baltimore County Animal Control.
In 2009 they were seized from a home where investigators say they were used as training dogs in a dog-fighting ring.
Now, Swanson says they're ready to be adopted out. “Animals can be raised in pretty horrific conditions and then turn out to be excellent pets, can get along with other dogs, other animals, people, children old and young it doesn't matter,” she said.
Last month, the Court of Appeals issued a ruling on a case that stemmed from a lawsuit by the family of Dominic Kreider, who was mauled by a pit bull in Baltimore County back in 2007.
The ruling reads, in part: "When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous."
Animal rights organizations are lobbying to have the decision overturned or changed by new legislation in Annapolis.
The head of the humane society says it hasn't changed how her group operates. Her worry is that it might make it tougher for the "Pit 6" and other pit bulls to find permanent homes.
“Every dog is an individual,” Swanson said. “Every dog has the capacity to inflict damage. To single out one particular breed and say that they can do more harm than another dog is just absolute bunk.”
She says anyone who adopts one of the "Pit 6” pit bulls will receive free training support and consultation from a dog behaviorist.
The Speaker of the House of Delegates, Michael Busch, has said he thinks the Court of Appeals ruling on pit bulls goes too far. He has not said when or whether legislation regarding that ruling might be discussed.
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