As previously reported on Conduit Street, a recent Maryland Court of Appeals ruling has held that an owner of a pit bull or pit bull mix can be held liable for damage done by the dog, even with no prior evidence that the dog was dangerous. The liability holding also applies to landlords who are aware that a renter owns a pit bull or pit bull mix. This ruling has provoked strong reactions from dog owners and animal care groups. In response to the ruling, the General Assembly has formed a task force to examine the issue. A motion to reconsider has also been filed with the Court of Appeals.
Considering the strong reactions to this ruling, Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizuer requested an opinion from the Attorney General to better understand the ruling. From the Baltimore Sun (limited free views available):
A motion for reconsideration of the high court’s ruling was filed, but Mizeur said she immediately began receiving calls from pit bull owners getting eviction notices from their landlords, and from animal shelters unsure how to handle the animals, given the new liability concerns.
A recent Attorney General’s Opinion advises that the filing of a motion to reconsider the Court of Appeals ruling “delays the effect of the decision.”