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Pit bulls are ruled 'inherently dangerous' by the Maryland Court of AppealsPit bulls are ruled 'inherently dangerous' by the Maryland Court of Appeals

Maryland Declares All Pit Bulls ‘Inherently Dangerous’

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Last week, the Maryland Court of Appeals officially declared all pit bull-type dogs as “inherently dangerous.” As a result, owners are now more likely to forcibly give up their dogs.

Some feel this is a grave mistake and will have negative effects in the animal community. “Anyone in custody of this type of dog including owners, landlords, veterinarians, kennels, animal shelters and rescue groups are considered liable even if the dog does not pose a threat,” AllPetNews reports.

There seems to be more than the classification of an animal that makes a dog dangerous. Lack of socialization, type of environment, good or bad qualities of an owner, along with many other elements contribute to whether a pit bull should be deemed dangerous.

However, the Maryland Court of Appeals says “when an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous.”

The law doesn’t just include pit bulls, but also dogs that resemble pit bulls. Here are just a few of the actions that will go into effect immediately, according to AllPetNews.

1. Due to abandonment and/or forcing one to give up their dog, there will be an increase of stray pit-bull type dogs in Maryland.
2. More pit bulls living in shelters will be euthanized.
3. Citizens of Maryland will bear a financial burden and live in fear that they will have to abandon their pit bulls.

The law comes into effect ever since 10-year-old Dominic Solesky was mauled by a pit bull in 2007.

Most recently, a Maryland animal rights group, Maryland Votes for Animals, is urging others to ask the governor in a special session next week to pass new legislation regarding the law.

“In Maryland, current law is what we call a one bite rule, that all dogs get one bite before they are determined to be dangerous but what this law does, what it says is pit bulls and pit bull mixes…are immediately considered to be inherently dangerous and we feel it’s absolutely wrong,” Chairwoman Carolyn Kilborn of the animal rights group said.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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  • Doods25

    How can non Maryland citizens help? This is absolutely ridiculous and needs to be fought!

  • Cindi

    Boo to Maryland~ Do more research and talk with professionals, like
    Veterinarians! Cindi

  • Do more research? It’s already been done. http://www.dogsbite.org.

    31 U.S. fatal dog attacks occurred in 2011. Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 650 U.S. cities, pit bulls led these attacks accounting for 71% (22). Pit bulls make up less than 5% of the total U.S. dog population.3

    Notably in 2011, adult victims of fatal pit bull attacks more than doubled the number of child victims. Of the 22 total pit bull victims, 68% (15) fell between the ages of 32 to 76, and 32% (7) were ages 5 years and younger.

    The year 2011 also marks an increase in pet pit bulls killing their owners. Of the 8 total instances this year in which a family dog inflicted fatal injury to its primary caretaker, the dog’s owner, 88% (7) involved pet pit bulls.

    Together, pit bulls (22) and rottweilers (4), the number two lethal dog breed, accounted for 84% of all fatal attacks in 2011. In the 7-year period from 2005 to 2011, this same combination accounted for 74% (157) of the total recorded deaths (213).

    The breakdown between pit bulls and rottweilers is substantial over this 7-year period. From 2005 to 2011, pit bulls killed 128 Americans, about one citizen every 20 days, versus rottweilers, which killed 29; about one citizen every 88 days.
    Annual data from 2011 shows that 58% (18) of the attacks occurred to adults (21 years and older) and 42% (13) occurred to children (11 years and younger). Of the children, 62% (8) occurred to ages 1 and younger.

    2011 data also shows that 39% (12) of the fatal incidents involved more than one dog; 26% (8) involved breeding on the dog owner’s property either actively or in the recent past, and 6% (2) involved tethered dogs, down from 9% in 2010 and 19% in 2009.

    Dog ownership information for 2011 shows that family dogs comprised 65% (20) of the attacks that resulted in death; 74% (23) of all incidents occurred on the dog owner’s property and 29% (9) resulted in criminal charges, up from 15% in 2010.

    The states of California and Texas led fatalities in 2011, each with 4 deaths; pit bulls and their mixes contributed to 88% (7) of the 8 deaths. North Carolina, New Mexico, South Carolina and Virginia each incurred 2 deaths.

  • sjr84

    What is “inherently dangerous” is banning the breed of dog, rather than enforcing the law against irresponsible backyard breeders and those who abuse dogs by breeding and forcing them to fight. People who abuse animals like this will not be stopped by a new law, because they are already breaking it! The new Maryland law is not preventing illegal dog fighting or irresponsible breeding, it is terminating the lives of thousands of friendly “pit bull-type” dogs.

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