Pit Bull Liability…Revisited

by Tom Schild

The Maryland Court of Appeals has been asked to reconsider its April ruling that owners of pit bulls and landlords are strictly liable for injuries caused by this breed of dog.  As a result, there is uncertainty whether the Court’s decision is final and binding. 

In response to the court ruling, a joint House-Senate legislative task force was appointed to develop possible Maryland legislation to address issues raised by the court opinion.  Some have proposed extending the strict liability standard to all breeds of dogs to address uncertainty whether a particular dog is a pit bull or mixed breed pit bull.  Others have suggested eliminating the strict liability standard for landlords and community associations. 

Because the Court of Appeals could revise its decision, no legislative action is expected until the court ruling  becomes final.

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