Reacting to protests that erupted after a court decision declaring all pit bull type dogs “inherently dangerous,” the Maryland Senate has approved a new dog bite law that holds all breeds — and their owners — to the same standard.
The bill, considered emergency legislation, now goes to House of Delegates. Once signed by the governor, it becomes law, overriding the state Supreme Court decision that singled out pit bulls as dangerous and ended the requirement that, in liability cases, they be shown to have a history of aggression.
That resulted in a different standard for pit bulls, or any dogs deemed pit bull mixes, at least when it came to civil suits. While all other breeds would still have to be proven dangerous, pit bulls would not because, as the judges saw it, they were that way by definition.
Pit bull owners and lovers saw the dangers inherent in that — from the difficulties it could pose for those who rent, to pit bulls being abandoned at shelters — and began campaigning to have elected officials do something about it.
“It’s definitely a win for pit bull owners,” Katie Flory of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) told WJZ in Baltimore. “We really do feel this is really the best way to go … It is very important that we look at the animal as an individual and not just the breed.”
Posted by jwoestendiek August 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aggression, aggressive, animals, bites, breed-specific, breeds, civil, courts, dangerous, decision, dogs, inherently dangerous, laws, legislation, maryland, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, senate, supreme court
Columbia, Maryland, could have its first dog park by spring 2013.
After receiving support last month from Harper’s Choice Village Board members and residents, the Columbia Association has recommended that a dog park be built off Rivendell Lane near the Columbia Association SportsPark, the Baltimore Sun reports.
“We conducted a pretty extensive search through open space to find a dog park,” association landscape architect Jan Clark said. “The site, we think, is really good … and the Harper’s Choice board is supportive.”
The Harper’s Choice Village board unanimously approved the plan at it’s June meeting. The Columbia Association has tentatively approved $10,000 in planning costs and $80,000 for construction, Clark said. She estimated construction could begin by February 2013.
Howard County’s only current dog park is at Worthington Park, in Ellicott City, which opened 10 years ago.
The County Department of Recreation and Parks Advisory Board is looking at the possibility of building a dog park on the east city of Columbia at Blandair Park.
“Columbia has something in the neighborhood of 90,000 residents, and there’s not (a dog park) located in Columbia or is at all that convenient to Columbia,” said Denis Ellis, Columbia Association’s director of capital improvements. “There is a tremendous interest in dogs and people feel this is a great amenity to have. We think that ideally it’s likely that two dog parks in Columbia would be well-supported and get a lot of use.”
Ellis said that association’s decision to look in Harper’s Choice was, in part, influenced by the county’s plan to place a dog park on the east side of Route 29.
The county has identified two sections of Blandair park as potential locations for a dog park, construction of which wouldn’t begin until the fall of 2013.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, approved, blandair park, ca sportspark, columbia, columbia association, columbia association sports park, dog park, dogs, ellicott city, harpers choice, howard county, maryland, off-leash, pets, unleashed, village board, worthington park
Dogs and cats over a year old can be adopted at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter for free during the month of July.
The shelter – after waiving adoptions fees on cats in June — decided to expand the promotion through the end of this month.
Local shelters partnered on the promotion, aimed at finding homes for 500 cats in June.
Together, the found new homes for over 700 cats, 405 at BARCS alone.
“This campaign proved so successful in saving the lives of cats that BARCS is going to expand it, waiving all adoption fees for cats and dogs over one-year-old for the entire month of July, too,” BARCS said in a press release.
BARCS, the largest companion animal shelter in Maryland, took in 738 cats and 386 dogs in the month of June.
For more information, visit the BARCS website.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 12th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopt, adoption, animal welfare, animals, baltimore, baltimore 500, baltimore animal rescue and care shelter, barcs, cats, dogs, fee, foster, free, humane society, maryland, one and older, pets, promotion, rescue, shelter, spca, waived
Earlier this year, the Board of County Commissioners agreed to set aside land for a dog park, and selected Bennett Cerf Park, located off Route 27, across the street from the Random House Publishing Co.
The county has agreed to provide the space, but dog park supporters will have to buy equipment and maintain the park.
Supporters of the park will be at the Carroll County Pet Expo on June 16, at the Carroll County Agriculture Center, hoping to raise money.
“We have given pamphlets out around different animal places and at various veterinarians,” said Laurie Walters of Westminster, one of the organizers of the project, told the Baltimore Sun.
The town of Mount Airy has its own dog park, but the Bennett Cerf location would become the first county-owned dog park. The dog park will be about an acre in size and will be located where the park’s tennis courts were before they were removed last year.
Supporters estimate it will cost about $15,000 to get the park ready to open. Initial plans call for building a fence, a double-gated entry and resurfacing the area with grass and stone dust.
“It will be a ‘bare bones’ dog park,” Walters said. “… We won’t have, at the beginning, benches or running water.”
The park will be restricted to members who pay a yearly access fee, probably around $30. Before becoming a member, owners must show proof of their dogs having and license and proper vaccinations.
Walters first approached the City of Westminster in 1997 about creating a dog park. While the city was in favor of the idea, it had trouble finding a suitable location, she said.
The Carroll Kennel Club has pledged to match donations up to $7,500 through the end of 2012, Walters said.
Supporters of the Bennett Cerf Dog Park project will be at the Pet Expo on Saturday, June 16, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Those wishing to donate to the project can also write to Bennett Cerf Dog Park, Carroll County Recreation and Parks, 300 S. Center Street, Westminster, MD 21157.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bennett cerf, bennett cerf park, campaign, carroll county, carroll kennel club, dog, dog park, dogs, donate, donations, drive, fundraising, laurie walters, maryland, park, parks, pet expo, pets, random house, recreation, westminster
Our original plan was to simply post this song and dedicate it to Marylanders who have pit bull type dogs as companions — they being stressed out now over the state’s highest court badmouthing their loved ones, and the implications that might carry.
But then, as sometimes happens, we got fascinated with its backstory, and attempted to pin down the song’s history, which is difficult to do nowadays with all the bogus flotsam — like pit bull myths — that bobs to the surface on the Internet.
We think we got to the root of it, though, and we still dedicate it to Maryland pit bull owners, whose dogs aren’t nearly as “inherently dangerous” as sweeping, ill-informed court rulings.
To them we dedicate all three versions of the song we’re showing you here, even the Yugoslavian one.
We began, above, with one by Lulu Belle and Scotty, a husband and wife, both now deceased, from the mountains of North Carolina. It was recorded during a radio performance, which Lulu Belle only slightly flubbed.
Next we offer you this rendition — combining a 1926 recording by Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers with some Walt Disney animation, circa 1924, in which a dog catcher gets his due. Don’t try this at home, for it would make you a terrorist, and, in the U.S., only courts and governments are allowed to instill terror.
It cuts the song short, leaving out a last verse, so here are the full lyrics:
Me and old Lem Briggs and old Bill Brown
Took a load of corn to town
Old Jim dog, the on’ery pup
He just naturally followed us up
Every time I come to town
The boys go to kicking my dog around
Makes no difference if he’s a hound
Ya gotta quit kicking my dog around
As we driv’ past the country store
A passel of yaps came out the door
Jim he scooted behind a box
Showered him with sticks and rocks
They tied a tin can to his tail
And run him past the county jail
That just naturally makes me sore
Bill he cussed and Lem he swore
Me and Lem Briggs and old Bill Brown
Lost no time a-getting down
We whupped them fellers to the ground
For kickin’ my old dog, Jim, around
Jim seed his duty there and then
He sure let into those gentlemen
He sure messed up that townhouse square
With rags and meat and hide and hair
While Gid Tanner & the Skillet Lickers are credited with first recording the song, it was written 14 years earlier and copyrighted in 1912 by Webb M. Oungst and Cy Perkins, a pseudonym for Mrs. William Stark, wife of a famous publisher of ragtime music.
Mrs. Stark used the pseudonym, it is said, because she was afraid the song would be rejected if it was known that a woman had written it.
The same year, Champ Clark, a Missouri Democrat adopted it as his theme song in his campaign for the presidential nomination. He lost. Woodrow Wilson won.
Given the exposure, though, the song became briefly popular, and Witmark & Sons purchased the copyright for $10,000. Some accounts say the payments weren’t met, which led to a lawsuit.
The Second Missouri Infantry chose it as their marching song, and there are those who have pushed over the years for it to become the state song, which given the state’s not yet totally forgotten and overcome reputation for puppy mills probably would be a mistake.
I think it makes a better theme song for pit bulls, for no breed or type of dog gets more kicked around than them.
Here’s the original sheet music
And here’s the version recorded by Yugoslavian — back when it was still Yugoslavia — pop singer Diego Varagic, “Krcma Na Putu Za Tenesi.”
Posted by jwoestendiek May 24th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: appeals court, campaign, campaign song, candidate, champ clark, diego varagic, folk, gid tanner, history, inherently dangerous, lulu belle and scotty, maryland, missouri, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, presidential, ragtime, sheet music, skillet lickers, song, versions, video, walt disney, who wrote, ya gotta quit kickin' my dog around, you gotta quick kicking my dog around, yugoslavia
On Sunday May 20th, they’re planning their biggest yet.
Up to 100 participants are expected to showcase their dogs in the wake of the Maryland Court of Appeals Court ruling which labeled all pit bull and pit bull mix dogs to be “inherently dangerous.”
“B-More Dog’s goal for Pit Bulls on Parade is now — and has always been — to introduce people to real pet pit bulls and their people, thereby reducing the stereotype and myths that surround these dogs,” the organization said.
The parade will start at 11 a.m. at Rash Field and continue around the promenade to the Coast Guard Cutter Taney and back.
Participants in the walk will include family pets as well as pit bulls available for adoption at Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter, Inc. (BARCS). Local rescue groups such as Jasmine’s House, Adopt a Homeless Animal and FurEver Love often participate in the walk as well.
“B-More Dog was extremely disappointed to learn of the new ‘pit bull’ law in Maryland as a result of the Solesky v. Tracey case. B-More Dog has been working around the clock with regional and national experts to determine the best course of action to have this law changed,” said Pauline Houliaras, President of B-More Dog.
B-More Dog provides humane education in Baltimore city by taking trained and well-mannered pit bulls to community centers, after school programs, schools and churches.
For more information about Pit Bulls on Parade or any of the programs offered by B-More Dog, contact Pauline Houliaras at 410-292-3869 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 18th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, appeals court, b-more dog, baltimore, bmore dog, bmoredog, dangerous, dogs, education, events, inherently dangerous, inner harbor, maryland, parade, perceptions, pets, pit bull owners, pit bulls, pit bulls on parade, pitbull, pitbulls, rash field, ruling, stereotypes, training
The Maryland Court of Appeals opinion declaring all pit bulls — and conceivably any dog with any pit bull in it — “inherently dangerous” shouldn’t be interpreted as outlawing the breed.
It applies only to litigation, and law-abiding pit bulls and their owners should have nothing to fear, those who see reason in the opinion will point out.
But there’s a lot to fear. Even though the opinion directly affects only those who get sued, it indirectly affects everyone — in the form of pets being abandoned, overcrowded shelters, difficulty finding rental property and giving Maryland a reputation as a state where beings are judged, discriminated against and persecuted, all based on looks.
It’s definitely a step in the wrong direction, fraught with connotations of racism, or its canine equivalent; and, like most exhibits of intolerance, it shouldn’t be tolerated.
B-More Dog, a group that’s been fighting on behalf of pit bulls for a few years now, is among the organizations offering advice to pit bull owners, aimed at better understanding the opinion, undoing the damage it did and dealing with its after-effects.
The same case that led to the court opinion played a role in B-More dog forming. In 2007, 10-year-old Dominic Solesky was bitten by a pit bull that escaped from its yard. Not long after that, a Baltimore County councilman introduced legislation that would have required pit bulls to be muzzled in public, among other restrictions.
At a rally to protest the proposed law, the founding members of the organization met, went on to fight the legislation and formed B-More Dog to promote responsible dog ownership.
The Solesky family, meanwhile, filed a civil lawsuit in 2008 against the owners of the pit bull and their landlord. In 2009, the Circuit Court for Baltimore County ruled that the landlord, could not be held (monetarily) responsible for the dog bite because there was no way she could have known that the dog was “dangerous”.
The Solesky family appealed this decision to the Court of Special Appeals which found in favor of the Solesky family. Then, the landlord’s insurance company asked the Maryland Court of Appeals to hear the case. Its opinion last week, saying in, effect, that all pit bulls are dangerous and owners and landlords should know that, is the one that has sent some pit bull owners into states of near panic.
“B-More Dog has been in touch the best and the brightest people, both locally and nationally, who fight breed discrimination,” the organization said in a newsletter this week. “We remain confident that breed discrimination laws will be defeated in Maryland and we are preparing for the marathon battle ahead.”
B-more Dog isn’t the only organization that’s working to inform pit bill owners of the court opinion’s implications.
The Animal Farm Foundation put together information for pit bull owners that you can find it here. The Humane Society of the United States has some advice for renters and others that you can find here.
Those organziations and others are also looking at legal options, including the possibility of the Maryland General Assembly passing a law to undo the court decision. More information on this possibility can be found on this HSUS Facebook Page.
B-More Dog is planning a “Rally to Support Dog Owners Across Maryland,” and has scheduled some other events as well.
They’ll be on hand May 12, handing out stickers and more at the Baltimore Humane Society’s Paws on Parade event this Saturday (May 12).
Next Saturday (May 19), they’ll be holding ”Pins for Pits, a family-friendly bowling fundraiser at Country Club Lanes, 9020 Pulaski Highway in Baltimore, from 5-7 p.m.
And on Sunday (May 20), they’ll be holding their regular “Pit Bulls on Parade”
walk at Rash Field at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, starting at 11 a.m.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 11th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: advice, animal farm foundation, animals, b-more dog, breed-specific, breeds, court, court of appeals, discrimination, dogs, events, general assembly, help, hsus, implications, inherently dangerous, law, litigation, maryland, mixes, opinion, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls
Concerns over the Maryland Court of Appeals decision declaring that all pit bull-type dogs are ”inherently dangerous” continue to ripple through the state and beyond.
And rightly so.
Humane Society Legislative Fund President Michael Markarian sums it all up nicely in his ”Animals & Politics” blog:
“The misguided and overreaching ruling treats all pit bulls and pit bull mixes as a category, rather than individual animals. It could make owners, landlords, veterinarians, kennels, animal shelters, rescue groups, and anyone in custody of a dog automatically liable, regardless of whether they know a dog actually poses a threat.
“This is a major step backwards for the state of Maryland, and puts both dogs and people at risk. This sweeping decision is a case of canine profiling. It may force law-abiding citizens to face a painful and life-changing decision — move out of Maryland or give up their beloved dogs. It could increase the number of stray pit bull-type dogs on the streets and euthanized in shelters, turning back progress made by animal shelters and rescue groups over the past few decades.
“… Rather than protect public safety, the court’s fiat has the opposite effect: It has the potential to create packs of free-roaming pit bulls roaming Maryland neighborhoods, rather than living safely as beloved family pets. Taxpayers and municipal agencies will bear the financial burden of addressing public health and safety problems caused by feral dog packs.”
Breed alone is not predictive of whether a dog may pose a danger, Markarian notes. Far larger factors are the dog’s living conditions, whether he was properly socialized, owner behavior, and whether he’s chained.
On top of being misguided, the ruling fails to recognize that pit bulls aren’t a breed, but a fuzzy catch-all term, and proving a dog is a pit bull will likely be problematic.
“And who’s to decide whether a dog is a pit bull and therefore unwelcome with a cursory visual exam? According to a recent study by the Maddie’s Fund Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida, which looked at a group of 120 dogs at four animal shelters, 55 of those dogs were identified as “pit bulls” by shelter staff, but only 25 were confirmed as pit bulls by DNA analysis. Additionally, the staff missed identifying 20 percent of the dogs who were pit bulls by DNA analysis, while only 8 percent of the “true” pit bulls were identified by all staff members … The National Canine Research Council has a clearinghouse of resources demonstrating that breed labels assigned to dogs of unknown origin are usually inaccurate.
Many dogs merely resembling the pit bull-type look will be swept up and punished by this ruling, and there may be expensive court battles over whether a dog is or isn’t a pit bull. With as many as 75 percent of shelter dogs being mixed breeds, this is not an anti-pit bull decision, but an anti-dog decision.
Markarian encourages readers to show how they feel about the ruling by submitting their favorite pit bull pictures to the “We Love Maryland Pit Bulls” photo album on the HSUS Maryland Facebook page, or by posting them on Twitter with the hashtag #LoveMDpitbulls.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abandoned, animals, breed-specific, breeds, court of appeals, dangerous, decision, dogs, humane society legislative fund, image, inherently dangerous, landlords, law, lawsuits, maryland, michael markarian, opinion, pets, pit bulls, pitbulls, reputation, roaming, ruling, shelters
All three products were made at a Gaston, S.C., plant — the same one that made mold-contaminated food that killed dozens of dogs nationwide in 2005.
Production at the plant was halted April 8.
In a statement Monday, the Missouri-based company said the latest recall involves its Diamond Puppy Formula dry dog food. No canine illnesses have been reported.
The product was distributed to customers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
The company announced in April that it was recalling batches of its Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula and Diamond Naturals Lamb Meal & Rice.
Posted by jwoestendiek May 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adult, adult light formula, alabama, animals, chicken soup for the pet lovers soul, company, concerns, diamond, diamond naturals, diamond pet foods, dog food, dogs, florida, food, formula, gaston, georgia, health, kentucky, lamb meal and rice, light, maryland, michigan, missouri, north carolina, ohio, pennsylvania, pet, pets, plant, recall, safety, salmonella, south carolina, tennessee, virginia, voluntary, warning
“They have a reputation for vicious mauling,” he says in the first paragraph of his Monday column, written after serving as a judge in a costume contest that was part of last weekend’s Maryland SPCA March for the Animals.
That makes me wonder — not just about the SPCA’s choice in judges, but whether The Sun has changed its slogan. I’ve been away. Is it “Light for Some” now? “Light for Purebreds?” “Light for erroneous stereotypes?”
First off, if I may shed some light for all, it’s the news media (always so easy to blame) that accounts, in large part, for the pit bull’s undeserved bad reputation — along with fear mongering politicians.
Rodricks further trashes that reputation, calling pit bulls, among other things, “four-legged time bombs” — and at a time when much of the country, with exceptions like the Maryland Court of Appeals, is waking up to how wrong that stereotype is.
“Until they are banned outright, pit bulls should not be allowed in public, and their ownership should bear heavy, legal responsibility,” Rodricks wrote, adding that he was “pleased” with the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling declaring pit bulls and pit bull mixes “inherently dangerous.”
Rodricks talked about his admiration for the Maryland SPCA and its efforts to shelter and find home for dogs. And he praised the annual March for the Animals, saying the spectacle of people walking their pets around Druid Lake was “inspiring — city life at its top.”
If only there weren’t pit bulls in the crowd:
“The pit bulls make it weird … Of course, the pit bulls are all tethered or chained to their owners, and, given the nature of the event, you generally assume that the men and women who participate are responsible and educated pet owners; altruistic, too. Many adopted these animals to provide them a home and train them toward good behavior. They believe mistreatment of the pit bull by ignorant humans is the problem, not the breed itself.”
He then conveys the following misinformation:
“The evidence shows clearly that such attacks are disproportionate to the number of pit bulls in society, that they inflict far more damage than other dogs, and that their attacks are associated with a higher risk of death. Pit bull jaws are three times stronger than those of a German (shepherd).”
The appeals court ruling — delving as it does into pit bull attacks over history, or at least attacks police attributed to pit bulls — “makes clear, if it wasn’t already, that pit bulls are four-legged time bombs,” Rodricks says
As you might expect, Rodricks is now getting the vicious mauling he feared might occur if he got too close to a pit bull — from readers.
You can find their comments here.
(Photo: From TheBullyBreedBlog.com)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baltimore, baltimore sun, ban, breed-specific, breeds, columnist, costume contest, dan rodricks, dangerous, discrimination, dogs, images, inherent, judge, March for the Animals, maryland, maryland court of appeals, maryland spca, news media, pets, pit bull, pit bulls, pitbull, pitbulls, reputation, restrict, ruling, stereotypes