Maryland Court Rules Pit Bulls to be "Inherently Dangerous" DogsPublished May 3, 2012
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With the decision, owning a pit bull in the state of Maryland has become not only a much more serious responsibility, but also a potential liability. Both pit bull owners and landlords are now held accountable for a pit bull's actions. If a pit bull bites, the consequences and punishments are more serious for both owner and landlord.
As a result of the greater responsibility being laid on pit bull owners and landlords that have them on their property, animal rescue groups are afraid of the potential fallout that the decision will have on rescuing and adopting out pit bulls who wind up in animal shelters. The reality is that the decision has made owning a pit bull much more difficult, and has effectively created yet another barrier to adopting the breed.
While the effects of the Maryland decision will be seen primarily in Maryland at first, animal activists are worried about the potential effects that the decision will have on the rest of the country. If one state can rule a dog breed inherently dangerous, what's to stop another from doing the same? Maryland may have set a precedent for the rest of the country, where some areas already have existing discriminatory breed laws.
While the onus of raising a dog correctly falls squarely on the shoulders of the owner, the statistics surrounding pit bulls and attack-oriented incidents are pretty staggering. While each bite case is different, pit bulls do account for a large number of bites. The Center for Disease Control estimates that pit bulls accounted for 66 out of 238 dog bite cases that occurred between 1979 and 1996.
Where do you stand on the issue? Do you think pit bulls are inherently dangerous? Or is Maryland's ruling the epitome of breedism at its finest, setting an ugly precedent of the next wave of discriminatory laws against pits? Share your thoughts in a comment.