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Pit Bull Bill Still Unresolved

PHOTO: Maryland Legislature at an Impasse over Pit Bull Legislation. Photo credit: HSUS Maryland
PHOTO: Maryland Legislature at an Impasse over Pit Bull Legislation. Photo credit: HSUS Maryland
April 1, 2013

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Time is running out for the Maryland General Assembly to resolve what's become a dogfight over dog bite liability. It's been a year since the Maryland Court of Appeals declared pit bulls inherently dangerous, a decision which dramatically raised the stakes in dog-bite cases for pit bull owners and their landlords.

Since then, the Maryland House and Senate each passed legislation establishing liability rules that don't single out pit bulls, but the two chambers have not been able to resolve differences in their bills.

According to The Humane Society of the United States Maryland state director, Tami Santelli, pit bull owners are in limbo, and facing pressure to get rid of their dogs.

"We're already seeing people getting notices from their landlords, their homeowners' associations changing their policies," she said. "Shelters are seeing more pit bull type dogs come in."

Santelli said shelters are also having a more difficult time finding people to adopt the dogs.

She is hopeful that a committee of three delegates and three senators will work out a compromise this week that ends what animal-welfare groups call breed discrimination.

"It's been a little nerve-wracking because it's gotten pretty heated between the House and the Senate positions, but I think everybody who is involved wants to see a resolution," Santelli stated.

The General Assembly session ends next Monday, April 8.

A link to the legislation is at tinyurl.com/a3q6fzt.


Alison Burns, Public News Service - MD