The two-year fight is finally over. Animal advocates sighed with relief when Governor Martin O'Malley negated the 2012 Court of Appeals ruling that found pit bulls to be inherently dangerous, and that they should be held to a strict liability standard. This ruling infuriated dog lovers across the state and sparked a heated debate for two years. The court decision also opened the door for dog bite victims to sue landlords for injuries, causing difficulties for tenants who owned pit bulls. Many pit bull-owning tenants faced the hard decision between their homes and their pets.
The new legislation now applies the same legal standard to all dog breeds. The owner has the burden of proof to show that there was no previous reason to believe that a dog was dangerous. This allows for dog bite victims to seek the justice they deserve without singling out pit bulls as an inherently dangerous breed. Furthermore, the new legislation makes it more difficult for dog bite victims to pursue lawsuits against the landlords.