Pit Bulls One Step Closer To Losing 'Inherently Dangerous' Status In Maryland | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Pit Bulls One Step Closer To Losing 'Inherently Dangerous' Status In Maryland

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Pitbulls and their owners are held to a stricter standard than other breeds.
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Pitbulls and their owners are held to a stricter standard than other breeds.

A bill that would reverse a Maryland court ruling that deemed pit bulls "inherently dangerous" passed an important hurdle in Annapolis today.

For the past two years, lawmakers have tried and failed to pass a bill to reverse the ruling that leaves pitbull owners and landlords who rent to them more liable in court if the dog attacks anyone. During that time, the House of Delegates has refused to even vote on a Senate version of the bill.

So Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery County) crafted a bill this year that lines up with what the House wants: a protection of the so-called one bite rule. That rule, in place in many other states as well, dictates that dog owners are only liable for injuries to others if they had reason to know that a dog was likely to bite.

But that didn't stop Sen. Bobby Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) from trying to change the measure back to what the Senate has passed before. He failed by just 3 votes today.

"My opinion is we should do the right thing if we're the Senate," Zirkin said. "Our job is to come down here and do the right thing. Not the politically expedient thing."

Frosh, who supported much of what Zirkin was seeking in previous years, graded his bill this year as a "B." He said it would be an "F" if it was changed because the House would reject it.

The Senate is expected to take a final vote on it by the end of this week.

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