Proposal would change Maryland law on dog bite lawsuits

With just a few days left in the 2014 legislative session, the State Senate has passed a bill that would change Maryland's law on dog bite lawsuits.

Dog owners would be held liable in any case where their dog is running free, and then bites someone.  It applies equally to all dogs; not just pit bulls.

Tony Solesky’s son Dominic was mauled back in 2007.  He believes the compromise shows once again that he's been right all along. “All of those things validate what we've been saying, is that it's your dog, you should be responsible,” he said.

Owners could defend themselves against a dog bite lawsuit if they're able to prove in court that they had no way of knowing that their dog was dangerous.

“The only thing about it which i don't support is why if it's your dog should there be any mechanism or reason to not take responsibility for it,” Solesky said.

Three tenants in the Armistead gardens apartments off Pulaski Highway in Baltimore City filed a lawsuit in federal court, after receiving letters from their management company that they had to either get rid of their pit bulls or move out.

The attorney representing those tenants told ABC-2 News he is waiting to see if the governor signs the bill into law.  If that happens -- and landlords are not in danger of being sued if their tenant's dog bites someone -- the lawsuit will be dropped.

Dominic Solesky is now 17 years old.  His father says he still believes pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs, and the state's highest court had it right.

“The confusion that it caused trying to do so tells you that the court was right, or it would have been a 1 2 3 thing. Even now it has controversy. They call it a compromise, so clearly the court was right,” he said.

The bill now heads to the governor's office to be signed; the House of Delegates passed it earlier this session.

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