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Lawyer Blog: Baltimore, MD

Maryland Court of Appeals Imposes Strict Liability on Pit Bull Owners, Finds Breed ‘Dangerous’

A new ruling by the Maryland Court of Appeals will now make it easier for pit bull attack victims to take legal action against the canine’s owner, according to an report. The court’s ruling officially deems pit bulls as “inherently dangerous” and the owner of a pit bull, or pit bull mix dog, is strictly liable for damages if the dog attacks, just as any landlord would be who rents to a pit bull owner. Essentially, the new law holds all Maryland pit bull owners completely accountable for the behavior of their dogs, and it is no longer necessary in a pit bull attack case to prove that the animal is dangerous; the presence of the pet on the premises is enough to establish a victim’s case for damages.

The Maryland Court of Appeals ruling stems from a 2007 incident in which a 10-year-old boy was mauled by a pit bull. The young boy was seriously injured in the attack and required five hours of surgery, a 17-day stay in the pediatric intensive care unit, additional surgeries, and a year of rehabilitation. The parents of the victim filed a complaint against the dog’s owner and the landlord to obtain monetary damages, but the canine owner filed bankruptcy and the court ruled that there was not sufficient evidence to show the landlord knew the vicious nature of the dog.

The Court of Special Appeals reversed the decision of the lower court in 2011, and this recent decision is in response to the landlord’s insurer appeal to the Maryland Court of Appeals. The decision is already stirring up controversy between animal rights groups and organizations that advocate for stronger laws to protect people in the event of a dog attack, but the lawyer for the victim’s family states that in the end “pit bull owners and their landlords must be liable for the actions of these dogs.”

A dog attack can leave a victim with extremely serious injuries and costly medical bills for treatment and recovery, so it important that any responsible parties be held accountable for the harm caused. If you have been injured in a dog attack, Maryland dog attack attorney Steven H. Heisler, “The Injury Lawyer,” will work to ensure your rights are protected and obtain full compensation for your injuries. Schedule a free consultation by calling our offices at (877) 228-4878.