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A Maryland Court of Appeals decision regarding pit bulls has many dog owners and rescue groups outraged.
The ruling states that pit bulls, and pit bull mixes, are “inherently vicious” dogs and increases liability for pit bull owners and landlords that permit pit bulls to reside on their property.
Prior to the ruling, if a dog was involved in an attack, negligence on the part of the owner or landlord needed to be proven in order to assign liability For example, if the owner wasn’t using a leash, or the fence wasn’t adequate to contain the dog. Now, anyone in Maryland that owns a pit or rents property to a pit owner can be held responsible in the event of an attack, regardless of negligence.
In other words, if you live in Maryland and own a pit bull, or even a pit bull mix, you’re responsible for any injuries your dog causes whether you were negligent or not.
So what does this mean for Maryland dog owners?
It means that responsible pit bull owners will have more trouble finding a place to live. It means that the thousands of pits and pit mixes sitting in shelters across the state are less likely to be adopted and will instead be euthanized. It probably means a state-wide pit bull ban is likely for Maryland.
Cheryl Bernard Smith of the Maryland SPCA expressed her concerns with the new ruling, telling CBS News, “Every animal is an individual, so to say that all pit bulls are inherently dangerous is absolutely untrue.” The Maryland SPCA currently has several adoptable pit bulls waiting for their forever homes that may now be out of luck.
How do you feel about Maryland’s ruling on pit bulls? Do you agree or disagree with the decision? Please, share your thoughts in a comment below.