Maryland: House committee hearing set on SB160

SB160 was passed (with an amendment) by the full Senate on March 14, 2013. The bill, which would reverse the Maryland Court of Appeals ruling finding pit bulls to be “inherently dangerous,” now goes back to the House Judiciary Committee, and enters into the long awaited home stretch.

A first reading on the bill is scheduled to be held in the Judiciary Committee on March 27, 2013 at 1:00 p.m.

The House and Senate passed two different versions of the bill, and those differences will have to be reconciled in order for the bill to make it over its final hurdle.  Both versions set the same rules for all breeds, without singling out pit bulls, but the two chambers set different standards for a dog owner to avoid liability when a pet bites someone. The difference is the burden of proof. The House version makes it easier for dog owners to argue they had no reason to believe their animal presented a danger. The Senate’s version requires a higher standard of proof – the owner must have clear and convincing evidence.

Its possible a joint conference committee could be held to attempt to resolve the differences between the two chambers.  If no agreement is reached, the Court’s ruling will stand, and many Maryland families will be forced to choose between their homes and their family companions as a result.

MARYLAND RESIDENTS:  Please reach out to the members of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as the legislators for the district in which you live, and encourage them to work toward a compromise and pass this very important bill that will benefit all Maryland dog owners.

You can find your legislators here.  If you’re not sure who represents you, there is “Who represents me” link in the upper right hand corner of the page.

House Judiciary Committee
(Block copy and paste e-mail for committee members),,,,


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