For the second year in a row, Maryland lawmakers are attempting to reverse a 2012 Court of Appeals decision that declared pit bulls “inherently dangerous,” and automatically holds their owners and their landlords responsible for any injuries or damages the dogs may cause.
Senate Bill 247, sponsored by Senator Brian Frosh, and cross-filed with House Bill 73, would reverse the decision. The bill would make dog owners, not landlords, responsible for injuries caused by their dogs, and would protect responsible dog owners by creating a rebuttable presumption that the owners knew or should have known about their dog’s dangerous propensities, regardless of the breed of their dog.
SB 247 would reinstate the common law of liability relating to attacks by dogs that existed on April 1, 2012, without regard to the breed or heritage of the dog involved.
Like is counterpart in the House, SB 247 has been filed as an “emergency measure” that would take effect immediately upon enactment, thus giving responsible dog owners and innocent dogs immediate relief from a devastating court decision.
SB 247 is currently before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, and a hearing is scheduled on February 6, 2014 at 1:00 p.m.
MARYLAND RESIDENTS: Please reach out to the members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and ask them to support SB247 which would hold ALL dog owners accountable for the actions of their dogs, regardless of breed, and remove the “inherently dangerous” label given to pit bulls by the Maryland Court of Appeals.
Members of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee:
You can follow the status of SB 247 here.