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pit bull legislation in MD


Tracey v.

Solesky Ruling

on Pit Bulls

The Maryland Court of Appeals has rejected motions for reconsideration of their decision in Tracey v. Solesky. That ruling is now in effect. The court modified the ruling so that it now only applies to purebred "pit bulls" and not to pit bull mixes. There is no legal or genetic definition of a "pit bull" and "pit bull" is not a recognized breed. One of the issues is that the court did not define what they think a "pit bull" is.

According to an opinion issued by the office of the Attorney General, this decision cannot be remedied by an Executive Order from Governor O'Malley.

During the second special session of the Maryland General Assembly legislation which would have remedied the court's decision passed the Senate by a vote of 41 to 1 and passed unanimously in the House of Delegates. All major stakeholders supported this legislation. Unfortunately the Senate either refused or was unable to consider amendments made by the House and the legislation did not pass.

It appears that a solution will have to wait until the 2013 session of the Maryland General Assembly which begins in January. The joint Senate and House task force which was appointed to develop legislation to address Tracey v. Solesky is expected to continue work to develop a legislative proposal for consideration.

Resources for tenants with pit bulls and for landlords

The Humane Society of the United States has created a Protect Maryland Dogs Helpline at 1-855-MDDOGS1 (1.855.633.6471) which contains recorded information. Callers may leave a voice mail for HSUS staff or request a copy of the information by mail. People can also find the information and submit questions online at

The Humane Society of the United States has compiled several lists of resources for tenants with pit bull type dogs and for landlords.

Information for renters and dog owners:


General resources and resources for specific Maryland counties:


Tips for temporarily or permanently placing your dog:


Information for landlords and property owners:


The potential harm of Tracey v. Solesky was demonstrated at Armistead Gardens (Baltimore) where 1500 families received notices threatening eviction for anyone not immediately relinquishing any pit bulls or mixes. Several dogs were given up under panic conditions. Volunteers from B-More Dog went door to door in the neighborhood informing residents of their rights and efforts are being made to address this situation within the community and through a possible class action lawsuit.


What you can do to help:

1) Please join Maryland Votes For Animals to receive information and action alerts on this and other animal protection issues.

You can also like Maryland Votes For Animals on Facebook

2) Please tell your friends and acquaintances about Maryland Votes For Animals. We urgently need to expand our influence with legislators. Every e-mail, call, or letter expands that influence. We need people at all levels of commitment. If all you can do is e-mail your elected representatives a couple of times a year, that is a HUGE help. We will provide you with all the information you need including sample messages.

3) Help educate your friends and acquaintances on this issue. People need to understand that this is NOT just about pit bull type dogs. As a direct consequence of this ruling more landlords are going to want to avoid the issue altogether by refusing to rent to tenants with any kid of dog. And once the concept of "inherently dangerous" breeds is established it will be applied to other breeds. There is no reason to assume that only larger breeds will be targeted.

Thank you for caring about the animals.

Frank Caesar Branchini
Board member
Maryland Votes For Animals


This page created 9-7-12



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