David P. Miraldi
Maryland's appellate court ruled that pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls are inherently dangerous. The case stemmed from an attack by a pit bull who mauled two boys on the same day. One of the victims spent 17 days in the hospital and a year in rehabilitation from the injuries. The dog had escaped from his pen on the day that he mauled the two boys. The dog had been kept at a rented property and the victims sued the landlord and the tenant-owner.
The lower court ruled that the landlord was not liable for the attacks becase he was not negligent and did not know that this particular dog was aggressive. The appellate court reversed this decision and held that pit bulls are inherently dangerous. A landlord would be liable for attacks if the landlord knew that the pit bull was living on the rental property.
The state legislature is trying to overturn this court decision. Pit bull owners claimed that the ruling was unfair -- not all pit bulls are vicious. Landlords were evicting tenants with pit bulls and animal shelters were concerned about liability. However, the legislation stalled.
This is the law in Maryland only. Ohio law is still quite different.
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