ANIMALS

'Inherently dangerous' pit bull ruling closer to reversal

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP/ABC7) - A bill that would reverse the designation of pit bulls as an "inherently dangerous" breed of dog moved closer to being passed by the Maryland House of Delegates.

File photo: Flickr/audreyjm529

The measure received preliminary approval from the House Tuesday.

Delegates are expected to vote on the measure Wednesday.

In April of 2012, the state's highest court ruled that pit bull owners and landlords would be held to strict liability standards for dog bites without previous evidence that a dog was dangerous.

The new measure increases protections for dog bite victims by creating a presumption that all dog owners, regardless of the breed, are presumed liable for attacks.

"Because of its aggressive and vicious nature and its capability to inflict serious and sometimes fatal injuries, pit bulls and cross-bred pit bulls are inherently dangerous," the ruling said.

The specific case that led to the designation of pit bulls as inherently dangerous stemmed from an incident in which a 10-year-old boy was attacked by a dog of that breed. The boy suffered life-threatening injuries and required several hours of surgery.

A dog owner who becomes a court defendant after a bite will have a chance in court to try to prove the dog was not dangerous.

The original April 2012 ruling can be read here:

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