15 TortSource 1 (2012-2013)

handle is hein.journals/tortso15 and id is 1 raw text is: Vol. 15, No. 1



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Joan Schaffner
The highest court in Maryland has held that all pit bull and cross-bred pit bull dogs
are inherently dangerous as a matter of law and imposed strict liability on all per-
sons who own, harbor, or control such dogs if they know or have reason to know that
the dog is a pit bull mix. Tracey v. Solesky, 2012 WL 1432263 (Md. Ct. App. Apr. 26,
2012). This decision changed common law liability for dog-inflicted injury, which
imposes liability on dog owners and certain others only if they knew or had reason to
know that an individual dog had vicious propensities. The decision in Tracey sparked
a firestorm of controversy and has had a devastating effect on all pit bull-type dogs,
their owners, and others associated with them, including landlords, shelters, veteri-
narians, and other animal service providers. This article discusses the decision, its
continued on page 6

Fall 2012

Adam R Karp
Those who defend dogs on death row consider themselves criminal defense attor-
neys, even if the proceeding that resolves to sentence a canine to euthanasia takes
place in a civil setting. From the pooch's perspective, someone has accused him of
a capital crime-killing a cat off-property, biting a letter carrier in the calf, chasing
and frightening neighborhood kids, or merely being born. If the state attempted to
impose the same penalty on human beings, we would demand that the prosecutor
meet the highest standard of proof available and offer every vestige of due process
protection at our system's disposal.
First, a retrospective. In medieval France, nonhuman animal defendants were
dressed up in formal wear and tried for murder; notably, they were assigned counsel.


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