Last week, Pit Bull Rescue Central was as shocked as many others in the pit bull community when we learned that the Maryland Court of Appeals issued a ruling (link to pdf) that changed the state’s common law in such a way that could have seriously detrimental impacts for pit bull owners.
“When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous,” the ruling reads. It goes even further to state that if a landlord has a tenant who owns a pit bull and “has reason to know that the dog is a pit bull or cross-bred pit bull, that person is liable for the damages caused to a plaintiff who is attacked by the dog on or from the owner’s or lessor’s premises.”
This means that pit bulls living in Maryland no longer have the benefit of the doubt – while other dogs in the state have to be proven to be aggressive if they bite a person, pit bulls are automatically assumed to be aggressive just because they are pit bulls.
This creates an unfair two-tier system upon which dogs that bite will be judged – regardless of the nature of the bite. If the dog is a pit bull, the dog will automatically be assumed to be dangerous. If the dog is of any other breed, no matter how badly the dog has bitten someone, it will not be held to the same standard.
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