BALTIMORE - A Maryland Court of Appeals ruling will almost certainly lead to more controversy over pit bulls.

In the opinion written by retired Court of Appeals Judge Dale Cathell, Maryland's highest court decided owners of pit bulls or a pit bull cross -- in addition to anyone designated to handle the dog on behalf of the owner -- who knows the dog is a pit bull or cross-bred pit bull is liable for damages caused to someone attacked by the dog.

The decision maintains that a plaintiff has enough evidence to claim a case of negligence.

"When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous." - retired Judge Dale Cathell
The Tracey v. Solesky ruling stems from a 2007 pit bull attack in Towson that almost killed 10-year-old Dominic Solesky and seriously injured 9-year-old Scotty Mason. Dominic's parents sued the dog's 27-year-old owner.
At the time, police said the owner retrieved the dog but did not tend to the injured boys. Witnesses told police Dominic was completely covered in blood, asking if he was going to die.
"He then went and dragged the dog back but didn't take care of the child at all, didn't call 911, didn't show concern for the child or (secure) the dog in the right way," former Baltimore County spokesman Bill Toohey said in 2007.
In the past, the victim had to prove the owner knew the dog was dangerous. The high court's decision modifies state law such that proving an owner knows their dog is a pit bull or part pit bull would be sufficient to file a lawsuit.