The recent Special Session convened in the Maryland General Assembly dealt with two proposed bills in which four days of debate were spent. One of the pieces of legislation was Senate Bill II designed as the supposed answer to the recent Maryland Court of Appeals ruling in Tracy vs. Solesky.
The Senate took what was a bad ruling in Tracy vs. Solesky and made it much worse by deciding that all dog owners would be liable for injuries to victims. This not only included injuries from a dog bite, but injuries incurred as a result of a dog’s impact. For example: if a dog’s activity caused you to fall down a flight of steps or off your bicycle, the pet owner is at fault. In addition, the Bill did include many exceptions in cases of trespassing but the language was muddied and unclear.
I commend the House Judiciary Committee for their amazing and unanimous bi-partisan work in reshaping the Senate version. The Bill was not breed specific, did not hold owners liable so long as their dogs were on a leash or their property, service animals were protected, and owners were made liable for loose dogs only. The House of Delegates voted 127-0 for approval by the Senate and I am proud to say that I supported this Bill. Unfortunately the Senate was not so happy and did not take up the amended House version of their Bill which is now leaving dog owners, animal shelters, and tenants in limbo.
Your Servant and Delegate Glen Glass