Members of the Maryland General Assembly convened during a very brief, special summer session over the past week to consider a bill that would effectively reverse the Court of Appeals’ ruling in Tracey v Solesky. Among other matters, a bill on gambling expansion was also discussed.
Both the House of Delegates and the Senate demonstrated overwhelming agreement with public opinion in their own support for a reversal of Tracey v Solesky and for a breed-neutral strict liability standard that would be applicable to all owners of all dogs. However, the chambers could not ultimately determine how best to accomplish the enactment of fair and enforceable legislation that would protect all people and their pets. They disagreed on which exceptions should be included in the strict liability language contained in the final bill.
The session ended without compromise or the passage of a resolution despite thorough public hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee and a demonstration of broad support for the measure.
The General Assembly’s regular session will begin in January 2013.
In the meantime, the Maryland Court of Appeals’ decision in Tracey v Solesky is still not yet in effect, as no mandate has been issued.
The Court is expected to discuss the ruling on Thursday, August 16, 2012.
National Canine Research Council suggests it heed the message of the legislature when it conducts its deliberations, the Motion for Reconsideration currently pending before the Court, and the recent Resolution passed by the American Bar Association (ABA).
Dresser, M. (2012, August 15). Senate president declares impasse on pit bull bill. Baltimore Sun. Retrieved from: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-pit-bull-bill-tuesday-20120814,0,4170156.story
2012 Maryland General Assembly. (2012, August 13). [House & Senate Proceedings]. Retrieved from: mlis.state.md.us/2012s2/billfile/hb0002.htm and mlis.state.md.us/2012s2/billfile/SB0002.htm. (Cut and paste URL into your browser to be re-directed.)