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Maryland Court Exempts 'Cross-Breeds' From Pit Bull Ruling

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Becky Gregory (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gr8dnes/5256772018/)

Maryland's highest court is removing cross-breeds from its strict liability ruling on dog bites caused by pit bulls, according to the Associated Press.

The Maryland Court of Appeals made  the change in response to a request for reconsideration after a lower court imposed the liability, ruling that pit bulls were an inherently dangerous breed of dog earlier this year.

The decision still holds owners and landlords liable for pit bull bites. Plaintiffs in civil lawsuits won't have to prove the animal's prior violent behavior for the owner or a landlord to be liable for damages. But the opinion concedes that the initial ruling went too far by including cross-breeds. 

The definition of cross-breed is unclear, the decision states, specifically, whether a cross-bred pit bull is limited to the offspring of two pure-bred dogs of different breed or includes succeeding generations bred from cross-bred parents. 

Some Maryland state legislators attempted to extend the liability rules to all dog owners and landlords earlier this month, although that bill failed to pass during a special session.

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