A blog by spcaLA president, Madeline Bernstein

May 2, 2012

Pit Bulls -- A Tale of 2 Confused States

Courtesy Google Images
The Maryland Court of Appeals has found that pit bulls and pit bull mixes are "inherently dangerous" dogs and that the owner and/or landlord who knows that an attacking dog is a pit bull or mix is strictly liable for damages to the victim of the attack. In other words, regardless of the nature of the specific dog or the reason the dog attacked there is liability. It is therefore possible that a pit bull service dog is now declared dangerous in Maryland and a pit bull that was provoked or defending his/her human companion would be presumed to have attacked because of an "inherent" characteristic.

Meanwhile, in Ohio, the dangerous dog laws have been amended so that pit bulls, after 25 years, are no longer deemed "inherently vicious"!

This is completely irrational. Can we please focus on the specific behavior of a particular dog in the context of an actual incident rather than just profiling a breed and all the combinations of mutts in that mix?

Perhaps our legal system is “inherently contradictory”.

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