The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : House Votes To Hold Dog Owners Liable For Bites

Thursday, March 20, 2014

House Votes To Hold Dog Owners Liable For Bites

Annapolis, Maryland - The Maryland House has joined the Senate in passing a compromise measure on dog bite liability.

The House passed Del. Luiz Simmons' bill unanimously on Wednesday. The Senate passed a parallel bill from Sen. Brian Frosh last month. Now one chamber must adopt the other's bill before it can go to Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley for a signature.

The measure would hold dog owners liable for biting "innocent victims" unless they could prove they had no way to know their dogs were dangerous. It also overturns a 2012 court decision that designated pit bulls as "inherently dangerous."

Both chambers passed an amendment to hold the owner liable anytime a dog bites someone while it's running at large, unless the person was trespassing or provoking the dog.

Simmons told WBAL News that with passage of this bill, "the issue is done," in the Maryland General Assembly.

In a special session in 2012, and during last year's session lawmakers could not come to an agreement on the issue.

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